27 October 11
Cat On The Windowsill
I’m taking a silkscreening class right now at the campus craft center and find myself needing a bit of black-and-white artwork from which to make a screen. I haven’t done much black-on-white art so I sketched Charlie sitting on the windowsill with ink and a Chinese brush.
26 July 11
It’s a good thing the wine glasses are on the bottom shelf.
19 March 11
The Week of Cats
The feral cat… I can’t remember when we first noticed her. But it seems like at least last summer. I thought the two kittens we saw on New Year’s Day were hers. But no, there’s a spay incision in her belly, and the kittens haven’t been seen for weeks.
She came up to me one night, obviously looking for affection. From the woman who hurled blue frisbees at her. I petted her, then, feeling two hair mats on her neck, fetched a brush. She purred louder than any cat I’ve heard. Yeah. Right. Feral.
Elspeth was not only spayed, but microchipped. I need to marshall all my new buddhist resources not to feel murderous toward anyone who dumped her out here. Students: In June, when you leave, please don’t dump your animals. You’ll be consigning them to a life of a) ear mites b) infection, list too lengthy to detail c) death by coyote d) death by rodenticide e) death by shotgun.
Elspeth got lucky. She found a new home, through us, a life indoors that will spare her these risks. She’s a sweetie and I hope she does well. Now back to that buddhist thing…
20 November 10
Sheepskin For The Kitties
17 July 10
21 May 10
Friday Is For Climbing On The Roof
We’re off to the Maker Faire tomorrow! We expect to see all sorts of wacky goodness, from two-story high ray gun rocket ships to knitted Klein bottles.
25 March 10
New Morning Nook
In other critter news, I saw my first Swainson’s hawks of the year this afternoon, two birds flying into the black walnut trees on the opposite side of the road.
25 February 10
Charlie frequently settles in for his morning repose in the dryer, as he has done for a while. Today Diego decided to join him.
27 September 09
I Iz Not Impressd By Ur Clozur
21 August 09
Witness To Kittens
When we were in Brunswick, Maine last month we visited the museum home of the Civil War hero Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, which led me into a bout of reading on the Civil War. First I started with a couple of books on the battle of Gettysburg (including Noah Andre Trudeau’s book Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage). I then followed this by reading David Donald’s classic biography Lincoln.
One of the less known facts about Abraham Lincoln is that he has a reputation of being a great lover of cats, showing up on lists of famous cat lovers together with folks like Albert Schweitzer, Mark Twain, and Winston Churchill. Of this characteristic Donald only has this to say:
From almost the day of his arrival in New Salem [in 1835, when Lincoln was 26], the good women of the village had matrimonial plans for him. They found his awkward clumsiness touching, and they noted how tender he was with small children and how affectionate he was to kittens and other pets.
Wanting to know more about Lincoln’s ailurophilia, I searched down the original source of a tale about Lincoln befriending three orphaned kittens on a visit to General Grant’s camp at City Point, Virginia in March of 1865. The following is from General Horace Porter’s memoir Campaigning with Grant. Porter was at this time Grant’s aide de camp. I was glad to find this citation — Lincoln is a figure about which there is no shortage of mythology!
The President now went aboard his boat to spend the night. The next morning he wandered into the tent of the headquarters telegraph operator, where several of us were sitting…Three tiny kittens were crawling about the tent at the time. The mother had died, and the little wanderers were expressing their grief by mewing piteously. Mr. Lincoln picked them up, took them on his lap, stroked their soft fur, and murmured: “Poor little creatures, don’t cry; you’ll be taken good care of,” and turning to Bowers, said: “Colonel, I hope you will see that these poor little motherless waifs are given plenty of milk and treated kindly.” Bowers replied: “I will see, Mr. President, that they are taken in charge by the cook of our mess, and are well cared for.” Several times during his stay Mr. Lincoln was found fondling these kittens. He would wipe their eyes tenderly with his handkerchief, stroke their smooth coats, and listen to them purring their gratitude to him. It was a curious sight at an army headquarters, upon the eve of a great military crisis in the nation’s history, to see the hand which had affixed the signature to the Emancipation Proclamation, and had signed the commissions of all the heroic men who served the cause of the Union, from the general-in-chief to the lowest lieutenant, tenderly caressing three stray kittens. It well illustrated the kindness of the man’s disposition, and showed the childlike simplicity which was mingled with the grandeur of his nature.
Now if only I could find the source to the story that when Mary Todd Lincoln was asked if her husband had any hobbies, she replied “Cats.”