Cat Project Archives for September
21, 2015 - "Cats' hearing apparatus is built to allow
the human voice to easily go in one ear and out the other." -
Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: The irresitable eyes of a kitten.
Mewvie: When the stray becomes the friend.
Art: Art by Charles Wysocki
party held in Halifax for ship’s mouser cat
by Aly Thomson
HALIFAX—An elderly orange tabby cat slept calmly on a table in
the chart room of the CSS Acadia on Sunday as dozens of people dropped
by to stroke his head and give him kisses in honour of his retirement.
Erik the Red, named after the famed Viking, has been the rodent control
officer aboard the ship on the Halifax waterfront for more than 15 years.
He took up the role in 1999, when the malnourished stray kitten followed
Acadia shipkeeper Stephen Read back to the vessel.
“I was walking through the streets of Halifax one night with a friend,
and this cat started following us, street after street after street, and he wouldn’t
go away,” said Read on the deck of the Acadia.
Read joked that Erik must have heard about the position through the “kitty
cat grapevine,” as the former Acadia mouser Clara was not doing
a very good job at the time of catching and killing rodents.
“ He really had to hit the ground running when he came on board ... but
he more than proved his mettle,” said Read, adding that Erik would catch
rodents far beyond the ship’s limits, patrolling the entire waterfront
from Purdy’s Wharf to Pier 21.
“ He’s my buddy, and a valued co-worker. I’ve known three of
the four rodent control officers who have been on board this ship since 1981,
and he’s been the best that I’ve seen. He was the most efficient
and the most consistent.”
The pair spent a decade and a half living together on the ship, with
Erik sometimes leaving dead rodent surprises for Read.
“ I woke up one morning to find the bits of a small rat, its head and tail,
in the bottom of my shoe when I put my shoe on,” said Read, sporting a
long ponytail and an ascot cap. “I understood that it was a symbolic gift,
and I was grateful for it, after the initial shock.”
But the harshness of Halifax winters combined with Erik’s age,
which is somewhere between 17 and 20, meant it was time for him to swallow
the anchor. He’s been semi-retired for a few years and now lives
at a home in Halifax’s north end.
The friendly feline, who recently had one of his eyes removed because
of melanoma, has become a fixture on the Halifax waterfront, often dropping
into gift shops and napping on the boardwalk. Read said tourists from
across the globe would send in their photos of Erik.
His popularity was clear at his retirement party on Sunday, where dozens
dropped by to wish him well.
A guest book in the Acadia’s chart room was filled with memories.
One Halifax resident described how Erik brightened her walks to and from
work, while another lamented they will never be able to look at another
orange cat without thinking of him.
Erik was unfazed by the crowds of people congregated around him in the
small space. He spent most of the party sleeping on a grey sweater, occasionally
opening his one eye to catch of glimpse of whoever was patting his back.
The Acadia, a Canadian Scientific Ship, was retired in 1969 and is now
a permanent floating museum in Halifax harbour.
22, 2015 - "A cat allows you to sleep on the bed.
On the edge."- Jenny de Vries
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Do you mind?"
Mewvie: Just for fun, apparently.
Feline Art: "Woman
with cat" by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
23, 2015 - "The trouble with cats is that they've
got no tact." - P. G. Wodehouse
Gratuitous Kittiness: Sheer elegance.
Mewvie: This cat just LOVES his boy.
Art: Sculptor unknown.
the purr-fect breakfast wth this new cat-shaped
The San Francisco-based website Egg Addiction has created a cat-shaped
egg molds to jazz up everyday eggs.
All you have to do is lightly oil your pan with cooking spray and place
the silicone mold on the pan. Separate two eggs (but be careful when
handling the yolks!) and pour them into the pan, using the yolks as the
cat’s eyes. Cook the eggs to your preference and voilà!
There are many different ways to serve your cat-shaped eggs — in
a traditional American breakfast with bacon, hash browns, and sausage;
over kimchi fried rice; and even over pasta. It’s also a fun way
to entice kids who are picky eaters.
There are two sizes — regular and mini. The cat egg molds are expected
to ship in February 2016 and should make the purr-fect gift for all cat
24, 2015 - "It is remarkable, in cats, that the outer
life they reveal to their masters is one of perpetual boredom." -
Robley Wilson, Jr.
Gratuitous Kittiness: A Roman cat.
Mewvie: Most kittens held in a single hand.
The art of Braldt Bralds.
25, 2015 - "People meeting for the first time suddenly
relax if they find they both have cats. And plunge into
anecdote."- Charlotte Gray
Gratuitous Kittiness: A study in black and white... and fur.
Mewvie: Bow before the power of the kitten!
Komic: Cat door prank.
Art: Austin, Texas, cat folk art.
lessons from a limping, toothless, one-eyed cat.
by Jim Gabour
He was deserted by his mother at birth and only survived by his wits.
He begged for food from seedier neighborhood hangers-on, those scarcely
better off than he. He scavenged for meals through rotting garbage in
restaurant dumpsters on the precarious New Orleans lakefront. He occasionally
trapped a fish or two, or found a dead crab washed up on the shore. He
slept in abandoned cubbyholes.
He managed his own life with help from no one.
Then, as he was trying to cross a street, once again scrabbling for food,
he was hit and critically injured by a car. The vehicle rolled over him,
and did not stop to help.
Neighbors saw his injury, ran to the accident site and tried to find
him. But, like sole survivalists are wont to do, he had instantly gone
to ground to try and recover on his own. When, by pure chance, he was
discovered weeks later by a rescuer, he was on the verge of death, had
lost one eye, all his teeth, and the use of a leg. His tongue was split
down the middle. Untreated, his bones had fused incorrectly.
He was in constant pain, and tried as best he could to communicate his
His volunteer doctor ordered him taken for rehabilitation to a wooded
inland farm in Mississippi, a place that catered to such lost souls.
He was just settling in there when in 2005 hurricane Katrina came ashore
just south of the place, inundating the coastline with a 30-foot storm
But he survived again, and even began to thrive.
Last December he was offered for adoption online, his story accompanied
by a picture of his tortured, though admirable, face. Even the rescue
agency itself admitted that a limping, toothless, and half-blind 13-year-old
was a long shot for adoption.
So he came to live in my house.
I called him Tigger. He gained weight and then a feeling of safety on
a steady diet and much petting. But after months of stability, Tigger
had what the doctors thought was a possible heart attack, sending some
sort of embolism from his heart to his lungs.
In the process of diagnosing his condition and evaluating his status,
they performed a number of scientific and medical procedures, including
taking a life-sized x-ray. They looked inside his thick orange fur and
discovered even more of his history.
There was a bullet lodged in his side. It had been there some time and
has scarred over.
Two of his spinal vertebrae were crushed in what were probably the jaws
of a large dog.
He had many, many other healed wounds.
All this violence attached to the touchingly affectionate creature that
had slept purring with his head and front paws on my hip for all these
past months. I never realized before the x-ray just how far he had come,
how much he had endured. Yet here was a creature still able to blot out
past horror and simply offer himself as a loving presence in other’s
That nervous Sunday morning, while I waited for word about Tigger’s
imminent transfer to a different, much better-equipped, and vastly more
expensive critical-care facility, I looked at the headlines on the web,
on the Guardian website and in the newspapers. None of which were comforting.
I read the stories of so many lives lost to tragedy and terror, both
natural and man-made, and became depressed amidst the reported masses
of undeserved pain and death.
There are so many innocents taken up in the tide of misery and forged
into a singular face: the dead Syrian child washed ashore on Lesbos,
the Afghans trapped behind razor wire in Hungary, the victims of a tsunami
and earthquakes in Chile. The orphaned, tortured and prostituted child
of the Sudan. Too many.
And too much pain for the “civilized” world to bear. For
those who, like me, send a pound, a euro, a dollar and try to forget
the individual faces. Over my clean coffee cup, silverware and plate,
in the security of my own locked and alarmed home, I was once again forced
to realize the depth of true sorrow, of the loss of individual lives.
But this old tabby and his now-discovered contents made me begin separating
faces, lives and stories. Maybe this is his function on earth, offering
himself as a reminder for compassion on a personal scale.
Tigger would tell them that they all matter, if he could. He himself
matters, here in this hard place where creatures live and die at the
whim of their fellows.
But all the love in the world could not keep Tigger alive forever. Not
too long ago, a year and a half after he arrived at my door, Tigger died
of a massive heart attack, suffered as he enjoyed his dinner.
He left the world happy and knowing he was safe and loved.