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.
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.
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 :-)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.