Sunday 28 June 2009

Yuri Kuklachev And The Moscow Cat Theatre

Anyone who has read the excellent Dancing With Cats and decided it's a joke might be persuaded to reconsider after seeing this...

Can Anyone Tell Me What This Is?

Thursday 25 June 2009

Walking With The Gingers

Earlier this week, I was in St Davids, on the Welsh coast, with the artist Jackie Morris, who writes We Three Cats, which is paws down the most visually stunning mogblog on the Interwebs. Jackie doesn't actually have three cats; she has six, like me, and early on Wednesday morning, the more intrepid individuals amongst them, Jackie, a very nice photographer from the FT called David Barnes, Jackie's three dogs and I strolled up the hill from her brilliantly ramshackle storybook artist's cottage, passing standing stones and curious cows, to the huge lichen-covered rocks overlooking the sea. I won't say too much about it here, as Jackie has already posted about our day, and I'll be writing about it in more detail in my capacity as occasional walking correspondent for the FT, but it was an experience every bit as magical as I'd hoped, and a lesson in the often misunderstood sociability of cats. I wouldn't like to pick a favourite of Jackie's cats, as they each have their own strong, winning personalities, but I did particularly enjoy meeting Kiffer, her most recent rescue, who likes to kiss cows, play exaggerated games of hide and seek with humans, and - owing to a kittenhood ear infection - walks and stalks with his head tilted to one side.

Monday 22 June 2009

Guest Cat Of The Month for June: Ju Ju

Ju Ju

Fat Puffin, H.R. Puffinstuff, Fat Farter, Poo Monster, Poopington, Puddin, Ermine Feline, Hench-cat, Big Business… I seem to get called whatever comes into my owners’ heads.

About 10

Patrick and Anna

I want tuna! I want tuna! I want tuna! Mmmmm, tuna. I want tuna! I want tuna!

Favourite habits?
Shouting imperiously, sitting down on objects (pieces of newspaper, cushions, books) that happen to be on the floor, eating, glowering, getting under people’s feet.

What constitutes a perfect evening for you?
Shouting to go outside, sitting outside the back door shouting to come back in again, sitting on people, insisting noisily on going outside just when owners want to go to bed. As the veterinary nurse at the cattery once said politely, “she’s very vocal, isn't she?"

Favourite food?
Tuna. Although I am only allowed this on special occasions, and only when it has been in spring water, not salty brine. I live in hope, however, and get very excited when any can is opened, even if it is something I would never
eat, like beans or tomatoes.

Defining moment of your life?
The removal of my ear-tips in 2006 thanks to skin cancer. My owners were very upset at the time, but when my ears healed and my true roundy-eared glory was revealed they realised I had obviously always been destined to have these bear ears.

Any enemies?
Any cat foolish enough to come near me. If any come into the back garden I puff myself up to twice my usual size and emit strange wolfish cries. Past enemies include the late lamented (but not by me) Mittens from across the road, and the twin kittens who live down the road but who seem to have accepted defeat because they haven’t dared come in for a while. Currently my enemy is Bobbie, the next door cat, who is a shameless attention seeker. I'm slightly confused by his habit of rolling around on his back rather than running in terror as soon as soon he sees me, which is what the other cats did. I don't know what to make of him.

If you could do one thing to make the world a better place for felines, what would it be?
Sun screen for all felines who need it.

If you could meet a celebrity who would it be and why?
Knut the polar bear, as we resembled each other when he was a cub.

Which one of the cats in Under The Paw would you like to be stuck in a lift

I despise all other cats, but think The Bear has a certain je ne sais quoi. Perhaps my bear ears give me a sense of kinship with anything vaguely bear-related.

Brief biography
I have a murky past, but lived somewhere in the Irish countryside for a few years before being abandoned aged about three and taken in by a vet, who kept me in his surgery for a few months while he looked for a home. I moved to Dublin in 2001 when I was taken in by Anna and her then-housemates Eoin and John. Anna’s cat Spanky had been killed by a car a few months earlier and she had vowed not to get another cat for a while, but a colleague at the newspaper where she worked told her about this fat white monster who needed a home and she took me in. I was very, very shy and scared at first and refused to move from a single spot in the hall. And I didn’t make a sound for weeks. How things have changed! Now I live very noisily with Anna and her husband Patrick, and rule them with an iron paw. I’m not sure they treat me with the respect I deserve, and they and all their friends seem to find me strangely amusing, but they do feed me and attend to my door-opening needs, I suppose.

The 2009 Most Witless-Looking Cats Competition: The 4 Winners (In No Particular Order)

Fats, from Lisa:

Tim, from Carol:

Fred, from Marah:

Villi, from Lindsey:

Okay, so I said I'd pick just three winners, but Lindsey, who submitted her Bagpuss-loving Villi, actually already won a copy of Under The Paw in the Tough-Looking Cats comp back in spring (with Furball), and has very generously said I should give her prize to someone else. I'm not going to say which of the other three cats is the "extra" cat on the list, as judging this year's comp has been harder than ever, and I think all of these four cats are of equal witlessness. There have been some others who came very close too. Most notable of these are perhaps the anonymous cat who had fallen asleep on his/her neighbour's fence post and Pellos, the indoor cat who had such a pleased-with-himself expression having escaped from the house for the first time and immediately caught his first bird. Animals kill other animals, but I wouldn't want to be seen as condoning avian slaughter, and also I think - as hilariously witless as Pellos looks - his bloodthirsty witlessness is not quite as purely, plainly witless as the other cats here. Okay, so Villi and Tim do have their own props, but they are more subtle ones. Fats, meanwhile, takes the classic "cat slob" pose to new, undignified heights, and Fred... well, I have no idea how Fred got into that position, but he clearly had to be a heroic kind of div to do so.

Each of the winners will receive a signed copy of the paperback of Under The Paw, and a Yeowww catnip Purrr-muda! Triangle (see below). If you happen to be one of them, and have not yet sent your address, please do so ( Prizes will be sent out at the end of this week. Commiserations to all the losers - you'll just have to work extra-hard on being more braindead between now and next year's competition....

Sunday 21 June 2009

"Llly is a kitten, she's very small and friendly and was just playing..."

I wrote in Under The Paw about the stories I'd been told about Puss, the cat my parents owned just before I was born, attacking their postman. I've always been a bit sceptical about these stories and imagine the reality might have been a bit more like this...

Friday 19 June 2009

Thursday 18 June 2009

Waking With The Fishes

Okay, so I know I told getting towards 500 Twitter followers that yesterday's half-chewed mouse was "a cliche", and that was probably thoughtless of me, but that doesn't mean there's any need to have to wake up to find this outside the door...*

*Note to fish lovers: this isn't someone's pet; it almost certainly came from the lake near my house.

Wednesday 17 June 2009

This Is Why I Have Catflaps

Pablo: Not Such An Anomaly For Having An IQ Of 5 after all?

"It will cause outrage among some cat owners, but research suggests the pets are not as clever as some humans assumed – or at least they think in a way we have yet to fathom,"
writes James Meikle on The Guardian website this week....

Tuesday 16 June 2009

Janet's Retro Litter Lake: Latest Finds

It's been three or four days since I've been out in the garden, but it seems that in that time Janet has been busier than ever with his wombling...

The Most WItless-Looking Cat Competition: The Final Shortlist (To Be Narrowed Down To Three Winners!)

Stella, from Jill:

Mr Pickles, from Jodi:

Fatima, from Daniel:

Fats, from Lisa:

Zooey, from Ann:

Tabby, from Rachel:

Pellos, from Jessica:

Kian, from Katie:

Strange Anonymous Narcoleptic Fence Cat, from Nadia:

Kitty, from Brainne:

Tim, from Carol:

Dexter, from Stephanie:

Fred, from Marah:

Villi, from Lindsey:

Doos, from Rachel:

Tuesday 9 June 2009

Wise Cat-Related Quote Of The Month

"That's supposed to be a fact, that the question mark is originally from an Egyptian hieroglyph that signified a cat walking away. You know, it's the tail. And the symbol meant - well, whatever it is when they're ignoring you." - Christopher Walken, What I've Learned, American Esquire Magazine, June 2009

"Feline Brains And Style, Ur Doing It Wrong" - The Frontrunners At The Halfway Stage In The Witless-Looking Cats Competition

Leo from Sidsel:

Loki from Jason:

Mo from Rhonda:

Mr Pickles from Jodi:

Obi-Wan from Marina:

Oli from Steph:

Pellos from Jessica:

Peppa from Nancy:

Percy from Larua:

Pixie from Santi:

Pumpkin from Candace:

Rubadoodle from Sarah:

Tabby from Rachel:

Thaddeus from Rachel:

The Pee Monster from Amanda:

Villi from Lindsey:

Zolan from Bev:

Kitty from Brainne:

Gingy Bear from Teena:

Jack from Deanna:

Fats from Lisa:

Emery from Corrinne:

Double C from Grace:

Doos from Rachel:

Dexter from Stephanie:

Dante from Petra:

Caesar from Lou:

Bunny And Hickory from Anna:

Boris from Alison:

Allu from Katja:

Alfi and Sam from Sammy: