Tuesday 29 November 2011

29.11. Happy 10th Birthday Cat!

I had planned to make a film and take some photos of my cat last week, in celebration of his 10th birthday, hopefully outside in glorious sunshine in my garden….but as with all best laid plans; sometimes other things just happens and plans have to be rearranged. The last 10 days have been incredibly stressful here, starting with someone crashing into my car during the night while it was parked. Lots of phone calls to leasing company, police, insurance company, back to the police because the leasing company said I needed a ‘damage self report’, something the police then said they didn’t think I needed. New phone call to the insurance company who wasn’t really interested in taking the claim at all, in their opinion the damage didn’t cause the car to be un-driveable so why make an insurance claim…ehhh…it’s not my car, it’s a leasing car, when I return it, the leasing company will force me to make a claim anyway. New round of phone calls. I have got as far as to establish that I have to pay the excess, since I can’t find the perpetrator. Lousy bastard, just driving off! But I haven’t had the car at the garage yet. I will get a courtesy car while they repair it, but they could not guaranty an automatic car, so I am dragging my feet a bit about calling the garage for an appointment, as I am dreading driving around in a manual car, haven’t done that in 12 years!

Well, that was the first thing that happened, and last week I went for a routine scan of my legs and they found a DVT (blood clot) in my leg, this time whilst I am on blood thinner medication which is supposed to prevent me from ever getting any more new blood clots. So that explains the pain I have had in my leg lately…It’s been a bit of stress around this too, as I now need to see my haematologist urgently, as in before Christmas, and things like that isn’t easy to arrange at this time of year. It’s funny, you know, Christmas is only 2 days, but it seems like the whole country is shutting down for 3 weeks every year in December….

Anyway, this post was supposed to be about my cat, and the photos and the film in the garden didn’t happen; it’s been raining every other day, and when it hasn’t rained it’s been so blustery and grey that it didn’t really invite to any photo shoots out there. I have therefore taken a few photos tonight in my living room, and will make a film later on, weather permitting. I am adding a few photos from previous posts here, if you are a returning visitor you might have seen some of these photos before.

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 haven’t got a birthday date as such, just a ‘birthday month’ :-) My cat is a Domestic Short Haired Cat. Domestic shorthaired cats (DSH) 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 vigor 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. I wrote a post in February about when my cat went missing and turned up again almost 5 months later, as if he had just been gone for a few hours. In that post I also wrote a bit about his character and sweet behaviour, HAVE A LOOK HERE.

And here you can see him in a short movie from earlier this year, pretty characteristic for him; lazing around sleeping under one of my many throws! Any annoying ads turning up whilst watching the video? Just click the X inside the ad and it will go away. For best quality, view in 720p if your download speed permits it.

When you have had a cat for as long as 10 years, and had them since they were kittens, there is a very strong bond between cat and owner, especially in a single household like mine. My cat knows a lot of words, and although he can’t speak my language, I am quite fluent in ‘cat’ and he can understand a lot of human words, gestures and sounds. We understand each other incredibly well, even though there are times when he just stares at me and seems to be completely oblivious to what I am trying to tell him. But that’s cats for you; they will do exactly what they want to do, nothing more, nothing less!

Tomorrow I will follow up the theme about cats, I have some more info and a few more pictures for you, until then, take care, see you tomorrow :-)

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