Saturday, 30 November 2013

Happy Birthday Cat

November is the month my cat has birthday, I am not exactly sure what date, but it is probably in the second half so I thought I would mark it here with another post about him – and some photos. Today’s post is part following up on repeat posts from 2011 and part new, as some of the info here had to be updated.

I got my cat from a charity together with his sister in January 2002; his sister unfortunately disappeared in early 2004. The charity told me the cats were born in November 2001, but they didn’t know what date so I therefore haven’t got a birthday date as such, just a ‘birthday month’ :-) My cat is a Domestic Short Haired Cat (DSH) which are characterised by a wide range of colouring and typically 'revert to type' after a few generations, which means they express their coats as a tabby cat. This can be any colour or combination of colours. They also exhibit a wide range of physical characteristics and, as a result, domestic shorthaired cats in different countries tend to look different in body shape and size, as they are working from differing gene pools. DSH cats in Asia tend to have a build similar to a purebred Siamese cat or Tonkinese cat, while European and American varieties have a thicker, heavier build. DSH cats have a form of hybrid vigour due to their diverse gene pool, so that they are much less vulnerable to the genetic problems for which purebred cats must be carefully screened.

My DSH cat is a Brown Classic Tabby, and tabby cats are often mistakenly thought of as being a particular breed of cat, but it is the coat pattern that is known as "tabby", and this pattern can occur in all breeds of domestic cats. The name tabby is believed to have come from the word atabi, a type of silk spun in the Attabiah region of Baghdad. This silk was exported in large quantities to the British Isles where it was noticed how similar the stripped pattern was to the coat of the tiger cat. These tiger cats soon started to be called tabbi cats and later tabby cats. There are many variations of the tabby pattern and tabby cats can be found with stripes, spots, ticks and swirls, and in various colours - brown tabby cats, silver tabby cats, red tabby cats and blue tabby cats to name a few.

The classic tabby has large swirls or blotches that end in a circular pattern at the sides; these are called 'oysters'. Three broad parallel lines run from the neck to the tail and around the neck there are wide bands of colour known as 'necklaces'. Classic tabby cats tails have broad bands of self colour, as do their legs, and the belly will have a row of vest button spots. On the shoulders are patterns that are very similar to butterfly wings. It is thought that the Classic tabby originated in England during the Elizabethan era. These cats became mousers on the many trading ships that sailed the ocean, thus continuing to spread the tabby gene around the world.

A typical tabby cat has a prominent M-shaped marking on the forehead. This shape is present between the ears and above the eyes. There are many tales that speak about the origination of this mark. Many religious stories are associated with the beautiful tabby cat. One version is that the Prophet Mohammed had a tabby cat called Muezza who once saved his masters life by killing a snake that had crawled up Mohammed's sleeve. Later, when it was time to attend prayers the cat had fallen asleep upon the sleeve, and so to avoid disturbing Muezza, Mohammed cut the sleeve from his garment. From that day on, all tabby cats were born with the 'M' marking on their forehead to remind all that see them that Mohammed loved cats, and that cats should always be respected.

Another version is that on Christmas Eve, after Jesus was born, Mary found it difficult to settle her newborn baby whilst sharing the stable with the animals and with many visitors coming and going. A few streets away, there were some stray cats out looking for some food to eat. They made their way towards the stable and one of the cats went to the crying baby, climbed into the manger with the child and offered him a warm place to lay his head. The baby was comforted and fell asleep straight away. Mary was so pleased that the little cat had settled her baby that she told him that from that day all of his progeny would bear the Blessing of God, and she touched him on his forehead. There to this day you will find Mary's mark of the letter 'M' on the forehead of all tabby cats. It's not surprising that both religions have their own version of how the 'M' first appeared, but the truth is probably more scientific than religious...Never mind that neither of these figures would have been familiar with the Latin alphabet!

Too often tabbies are thought of as semi-feral alley cats and deemed to be low in cat hierarchy. Anybody that has ever shared their home with a tabby will know how amusing, intelligent, and warmly affectionate, beautiful tabby cats can be. Back in February 2011 I wrote a post about when my cat went missing for almost 5 months, and then came back as if he had just been gone for a few hours. That post has been read by nearly 800 people and has quite a few comments already. It is great to see the interest my posts generate, after all I am just sitting here on my sofa, writing about my garden, things that happens to me or things that are on my mind; if my writing can help other people and perhaps give them hope that their own cat eventually will turn up again then that makes me very happy. You can find THE STORY ABOUT WHEN MY CAT WENT MISSING here.

I can see my cat is getting older. He walks more slowly, sleeps more and is rounder around his belly. Somehow that all sounds rather familiar....That said, he still has a bit of a play-fight with my bathroom rug now and then, as he has done ever since he was a kitten, and the rubber bands that the postmen are dropping everywhere are still very fun to chew on, especially if I make a Daisy-chain of 3 or 4. No expensive pet toys in my house; no need for that, we use what we got and add a bit of imagination! The most interesting toy I can make for my cat is when I take a kitchen chair into the living room, drape a throw over it and make a small opening so he can walk in and out of what becomes a cave. He will then lie inside the cave and stick his paws under the throw to ‘catch’ intruders coming through to him – even if there is no intruders, but that doesn’t seem to bother him, he can play like that for a long time, even if he is quite a mature cat. After a while he will usually go to sleep in his cave, making sure he’s got some of the throw nicely draped around him.



Ahh, and the communication between us is very good; my cat understands quite a few words and I am quite fluent in ‘cat’ so he doesn’t really need to speak ‘human’ for us to understand each other. Although, I speak Norwegian to him of course, as that is my native language, so the words he knows are in Norwegian, not in English, something that was a bit funny that 2 year period when I had a relationship to a British man….I had to teach my boyfriend a few Norwegian words in order to communicate with my cat :-) But that was fine, my cat understood my ex-boyfriend’s attempts to speak Norwegian, and my ex-boyfriend learned around 10 words in Norwegian which I guess he has absolutely no use for now, as we went our separate ways in early 2006.

By the way, if you wonder what my cat’s name is I usually don’t mention that, but I know I probably will be asked about it by people commenting so here it is; his name is Pus, which is Norwegian for Puss and understandably is easily mistaken for a completely different word in English so that’s why I don’t normally talk about him by name. At the vet he is actually registered as Kitty….easier than having to explain! (Pus is pronounced very different in Norwegian than in English, the vowel u sounds more a double uu – kind of...)

I found this very useful list of tips for cats about how to best treat their owners on the Internet. I have seen the list on several web-sites so it is difficult to know where it originated. If you are a cat owner I am sure you recognise a lot of this, if you are not a cat owner but thinking of getting a cat, this list are things you might have to consider in the future once your new cat has arrived. The list must have been circulated in the world of cats for ages; all my cats have always been doing most of these things, even before the age of Internet….funny that :-)

DOORS:
Do not allow any closed doors in any room. To get doors open, stand on hind legs and hammer with forepaws. Once door is opened, it is not necessary to use it. After you have ordered an "outside" door opened, stand halfway in and out and think about several things. This is particularly important during very cold weather, rain, snow, or mosquito season.

BATHROOMS:
Always accompany guests to the bathroom. It is not necessary to do anything. Just sit and stare.

HAIRS AND RUGS:
If you have to throw up, get to a chair quickly. If you cannot manage in time, get to an oriental rug. If there is no oriental rug, a shag rug is good. When throwing up on the carpet, make sure you back up so it is as long as a humans bare foot. Doing it during the night means a morning surprise.

FEEDING:
When your human presents you with a new food, gobble it down quickly and act frantic for more. The human will then proceed to the grocery store and purchase the store's whole supply of that particular food.  Next feeding: Sniff, grimace, and scratch at the floor as if to cover stuff in litter box. Refuse to eat the proffered food ever again. Humans enjoy spending more time in the cat food section of the store than they do selecting human food.

HAMPERING:
If one of your humans is engaged in some activity and the other is idle, stay with the busy one. This is called "helping," otherwise known as "hampering." Following are the rules for "hampering":
1) When supervising cooking, sit just behind the left heel of the cook. You cannot be seen and thereby stand a better chance of being stepped on and then picked up and comforted. Also jump out in front of them while they are holding plates of food, it helps them to learn balance.
2) For book readers, get in close under the chin, between eyes and book, unless you can lie across the book itself.
3) For paperwork, lie on the work in the most appropriate manner so as to obscure as much of the work as possible. Pretend to doze, but every so often reach out and slap the pencil or pen.
4) When a human is holding the newspaper in front of him/her, be sure to jump on the back of the paper. Humans love to jump.
5) When human is working at computer, jump up on desk, walk across keyboard, bat at mouse pointer on screen and then lay in human's lap across arms, hampering typing in progress.

TRICKS:
Let your human teach you some good tricks, do it every time to receive treats and praise. When humans invite other humans over and tell them how wonderful you are and that you can do special tricks and how great you are; lap up attention until your human asks you to do said trick...Once they have asked, look at them like you have no idea what they are talking about, possibly look from her to the other human then roll onto floor and lick your bum with leg in the air or simply walk away and go to sleep.

LITTER BOX:
When using the litter box, be sure to kick as much litter out of the box as possible. Humans love the feel of kitty litter between their toes. Also help them to clear out the box when they are doing it, they love the help, or go in it when they have just finished, they find this rewarding.

PHOTOS:
Whenever possible do something cute and funny and stay like it for AGES, humans love to take pictures. As they get their camera, stay still, just as they turn it on, stay still, just as they press the take picture button, jump up/move/close eyes/look down/fall off /pull a funny face/stop doing whatever you were doing, humans love this, it help them to be quicker.

HIDING:
Every now and then, hide in a place where the humans cannot find you. Try boxes, empty packets, drawers, cupboards etc. Do not come out for three to four hours under any circumstances. This will cause the humans to panic (which they love) thinking that you have run away or are lost. Once you do come out, the humans will cover you with love and kisses and you will probably get a treat.

Aahhh, if you have a cat, I am sure you recognise many of these points :-) Another movie of my cat?


As I am writing this, my cat is lying next to me with his head half onto my laptop and his paw on the number pad of my keyboard. I have removed his paw at least 4 times, but he is insisting on having his paw right there, on the number pad, which means that every now and then I get a number 6 or a number 3 in between my letters. Charming! But I don’t mind, of course I don’t, I love the fact that he is always close to me and chooses to sleep where I am rather than spending most of the day and night outdoors away from home. As an outdoor cat with free access through a cat flap, he could have been mostly outside, as many cats do, but he chooses to be with me, spending no more than a couple of hours away from home at the most, and often just a short trip out in the garden during the winter and when raining.

Here is the last of the pictures of my cat for tonight, I guess I need to round up this post before it gets way too long. But as many of you readers will know; my cat is great company to me and never ceases to amaze me. Thanks for stopping by, welcome back some other time, until then, take care :-)

28 comments:

  1. Pus is a gorgeous cat! I love that top picture. I've never had a cat, but do know some humans who can exhibit some of those behaviours quite well..

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    1. Thanks! I think anyone who has had children will recognise many of the things on the list too!

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  2. He's a beautiful cat. It love his green eyes and little ear tufts.

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    1. Thanks, he is a very photogenic cat, quite used to pose for the camera :-)

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  3. I enjoyed very much reading your cat story. I loved the tale of the cat who offered the baby Jezus a warm place to put his head on. Pus is a beautiful tabby and I can understand very well that he is great company for you, like my dog Snarf is for me. Do you know we used to have 5 cats. The last one died three years ago on the age of 19 years old. I am still in doubt to take a new cat, but we now have our dog yet. May be in the future we will have cats again, because what is life without pet(s).
    Wish you a lot of happy days with Pus!

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    1. Thanks Janneke, I have had other cats in the past too, and could not imagine life without pets. I hope he will live for a good few years more but I am sure I will get another one eventually.

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  4. What a sweet kitty. He has amazing green eyes like my Oreo cat and stripes like my orange tabby, Ginger. Lately, my kitties have been misbehaving--it seems they're having trouble readjusting to each other after being separated while we were in London. All your photos are wonderful--especially the ones in the tub, by the computer, and wearing the Christmas hat.

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    1. Sorry to hear your cats are having trouble after your trip to London, hope they readjust soon, it will probably just take some time.

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  5. I love this post. Really cute cat. Your cat like as mine. I'm cat lover. I have 3 kitten, and I adopted a lonely kitten from a parking area in my office yesterday. And right now, I have 4 kitten. Have a wonderful day with your cats.

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    1. Four kittens is a lot of work! But they are very sweet when they are young, shame they grow up so quickly :-)

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  6. What a cat you have, Helene! I love his photo with Santa's hat on as if he says: "I'm very clever and kind cat". I've read the cat's list and laughed so knowledgeable it is. Happy birthday, Pus (or kitty?)!

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    1. Thanks Nadezda, it was a lot of work getting my cat to accept that Santa hat but I put it on him for just a short time in the beginning and a few times every day for about a week and eventually he didn’t even notice he had it on. Then I could take all the photos I wanted :-)

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  7. Your cat is so sweet. I loved reading your story and am a cat lover as well with two Himalayans. The list at the end sure is accuarate and fun. They do manage to do all these wonderful things!

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    1. Yes, all the cats I have had have been exactly like that too!

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  8. Helene - I think you and your cat understand each other perfectly. He knows how to push your buttons but your sunny personality lets you endure all his idiosyncrasies with a smile and a sigh.

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    1. He is a lovely, cuddly cat and being a castrated male he is also more of a house cat and prefers to stay close to me.

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  9. This post made me laugh and cry! We adopted a tabby cat about this time last year. We named her Autumn, and she was as charming, intelligent and loving as any cat on earth. She even won over my husband, who came from a long line of cat-haters. We despaired when she disappeared six months later. I was so upset I couldn't even blog about it, although I had featured her a number of times in previous posts. My husband says never again! (If you want to read about Autumn, go to my website and type in "A Cat Tale" in the search feature located on the right side of my blog.)

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    1. So sorry to hear about your cat disappearing, unfortunately that’s something we have to take as part of being cat owners or custodians, they can’t go on a leash like dogs and are therefore more vulnerable. I have lost 3 cats in the past, the worst thing is not knowing what happened to them.

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  10. Hi Helene… great kitty and pics. I was thinking about getting a cat… either a Maine Coon or a Ragdoll… checked out the internet and when I saw $1300 for a Ragdoll kitten, I sort of put it out of my mind… maybe someday, we'll see. Sarah likes the freedom of being pet free so we can take off from home as we please.

    I looked at your magnolia pics and those are definitely FLOWER BUDS!! With any luck, you should have blooms this spring! Congrats!! A lot of my magnolias are rather slim on buds for some reason this winter… I think they outdid themselves last year! I do however have four or five new cultivars that are in bud to look forward to. I was thinking about your nursery promising you flowers this next season… that's a pretty courageous thing for them to do considering all the variables that we dwell with in gardening….

    Take care and congratulations on all the fuzzy magnolia flower buds in your care! Larry

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    1. Hi Larry, thank you so much for looking at my magnolia pictures, so nice to hear I will get flowers next year! I did think it possibly was, since these buds have been growing since about July. I bought this magnolia in early February 2013 –delivered mid March and the nursery promised by email that it would come with flower buds and flower by May 2013 – but it didn’t flower. As I had never had a magnolia before I didn’t really know how to tell the difference between the buds, the magnolia came with lots of buds, but they all turned out to be leaves. I am so happy to hear that it obviously has had a good life this summer, living in a container on my patio. The magnolia will have to stay there until the crown is high enough to walk under, then the plan is to plant it in one of the beds. Sorry if I made confusion about what the nursery promised, they promised flowers in spring 2013, said nothing about subsequent years :-)

      I am surprised to hear about the prise of kittens where you live, a ragdoll kitten for pet and not for show here in UK cost about $650, if you want a show or breeding cat they can cost considerably more. My son looked into getting a ragdoll kitten when he got a cat some years ago, but ended up just getting a moggie, she is beautiful and named Coco, a little lady.

      When I lived in Norway we had Norwegian Forest Cats, they look very much like Maine Coon, a great breed of cats and at least with NFCs, you don’t have all the fuss with their coat as with other long haired cats, they take care of that themselves. As with going away, I have always had cat flaps for my cats, my cat has had free access to my house for the 12 years I have had him, whenever I am in hospital I leave him here and get my son to come here and set out food for him once a day and give him a cuddle. It is much better for him being here in his own environment, even if I am not here, than being dragged off to a cattery and sit in a cage for days or even a week. He is used to me going off once in a while and knows I will be back to him again, just like a cat mother will do I guess. We have great reunions every time I get back from hospital stays! You couldn’t do that with a dog, but if you have a good bond with your cat it is possible to at least go away for the week-ends if you have someone who can pop in once a day and set out food.

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  11. Awwwwww.... I love cats, alas no more & Mr TG can't be tempted to have any more. Lovely post Helene xx

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    1. Thank you Jane, I have had my cat for such a long time, I can't really imagine being without him.

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  12. Helene, you are owned by a star. What a cat. He recalls my dear departed Buuud, who must have had a paw in composing that list of cat points.

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    1. Thanks Lee, my two previous cats, Norwegian Forest Cats, must also have got hold of this list as they behaved exactly the same way :-)

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  13. Hi Helene
    Haha, I love it! Your Pus is really lovely and he has so gorgeous green eyes. Noah wouldn't allow me to cover him with something. Nope, that's a no go. Hihi and the cat points seems to be his bible.
    Have a great day.
    Alex

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    1. Hi Alex, I thought you would enjoy this post and recognise the list :-)
      Here we are having stormy weather and risk of flooding at the coast, not a great day at all but something that happens too often at this time of year.

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  14. Great article Helene, and I learned a few things. I didn't know that cats' coats revert to tabby after a few generations! That must be the 'truest' kind of cat then. Your photos of Pus are gorgeous, he seems better at posing for photos than my Lui. Lui will be sweetly sleeping or doing something cute, but as soon as he hears my camera turn on or zoom he gets tense and usually gets up and walks away! I try to sneak up on him but that doesn't always work! It's just like in the cat's list that you posted. He also always throws up either on a dining chair or under the table (so you put your foot in it when you sit down), and he always does it on mornings when I'm running late for work! Cats eh, sometimes I wonder why we love them but I'm glad so many people do!

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    1. Ruth, I think cats can get used to most things, if you just do it often enough and show them that there is no reason for them to be afraid. My cat must have been photographed thousands of times, he doesn’t bat an eyelid when I stick the camera up in his face, but he did mind the noise when he was quite young. I suggest you put the camera next to you for a few weeks and keep turning it on and off and playing with the zoom when he sleeps in your lap. Pet him at the same time but don’t try to take photos of him, just make him used to the sound and let him know that the sound of your camera is perfectly OK while having a nice time with you. Soon you will be able to take photos of him without him running away. My cat even sleeps with me vacuuming around him – but he is a particularly cool cucumber! Good luck :-)

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