This is my cat Panther relaxing in my sink. You’d think she would have preferred a cosy basket or one of the lounge chairs.
Of course the first things that come to mind are cats and dogs. Of course as Polly is a black and white cat she’s a ready-made subject so I decided to play with filters a bit and leave spots of colour in some of the photos.
One of Polly’s Christmas presents this year was a catnip filled furry toy rat called Rizzo. I have bought her toys with catnip before and like my previous cats she has not shown much interest. However, she really seems to like playing with Rizzo and spent a lot of time on Christmas Eve pouncing on him and grabbing him with all four paws. I didn’t have the camera handy then but this morning when she was playing with him again I did manage to take a few pictures.
It has been a while since I’ve found a book that I just didn’t want to put down. I have several books “on the go” at the moment, some eBooks which I read on the tablet and one other hard cover book. My reading habits have become a bit erratic lately as, especially with eBooks, I tend read a bit here and a bit there at night before I go to sleep rather than sitting down and reading a book cover to cover.
At the Op Shop where I now volunteer three times a week someone came in with a load of household goods including a box of hard cover books. I have plenty of books and wasn’t looking for more but then I saw a book with a picture of a cat on the cover and had to pick it up. I used to have a cat that looked very much like it. It was “Matthew Flinders’ Cat” by Bryce Courtenay. I have read some of Bryce Courtenay’s other books and enjoyed them and I once read a biography of Matthew Flinders so I was intrigued.
I was alone in the shop and the weather was bad so there were no customers. I opened the book and started to read. Within a few minutes I knew I was going to have to buy it so I could read the whole thing so I popped $3 into the till and have been reading it off and on since Thursday.
Matthew Flinders’ Cat tells the story of a homeless man, Billy, a street kid called Ryan and how they save each other. During the course of the book Billy tells Ryan the story of Trim a seagoing cat who belonged to Captain Flinders. Although the story of Billy and Ryan is fiction Trim was a real cat. There is a statue of Trim on a window ledge of the Mitchell Wing of the State Library of New South Wales near the statue of Matthew Flinders. For those not familiar with Australian history Captain Matthew Flinders RN (16 March 1774 – 19 July 1814) was an English navigator and cartographer, who was the leader of the first circumnavigation of Australia and identified it as a continent. I remember learning about his voyages in school.
While I don’t want to give away too much of the plot of the book, it is not a new one, it was written in 2002; it follows Billy who was once a lawyer as he struggles with alcoholism and rehabilitation. It seems a well researched and honest book and even though I have not finished reading it yet I would recommend it.
One of the things I enjoy about owning a cat is that when I watch them moving about I feel that I can sense the wild animals they descended from. Even the smoochiest domestic pussy cat will go through the motions of stalking and hunting prey even if the prey is just a piece of paper or a toy.
This instinct is wired into them. It is not that cats are evil, this is just what they do. Take Polly for example, she was abandoned as a young kitten so she did not have the opportunity to learn to hunt from her mother. She has largely been kept inside since she has been with me so she has not been able to hunt out-of-doors. Nevertheless Polly has always been fascinated by anything that moves. As a kitten she would endlessly play with her cat toy until she captured and “killed” the ball, she pounces on things that you dangle in front of her. Once she caught and killed a mouse inside the house although having caught it she lost interest as it didn’t do anything.
Now she’s become interested in birds and hangs around the apple tree looking up at them. She hasn’t yet figured out how to climb it, perhaps she thinks a bird might fall off, just the same it’s plain to see that she has the same hunting instinct as a cat who has had to find its own food.
We can’t stop cats being cats, all we can do is try to minimise the damage to wildlife. Feral cats are a big problem in many places and the authorities are taking steps to manage them. I don’t really like the idea of cat culls but I accept that sometimes it has to happen. I have met people who have taken it on themselves to catch feral cats and have them neutered then release them where they were found. This is a more humane way of managing them I think but most importantly people need to be encouraged to get their cats neutered. If there was some kind of subsidy to vets to make it cheaper that would probably help. In many areas there are already laws requiring cats to be kept inside at night or even to be contained at all times. That is not the case here yet but I think it will be one day. I’d like to have a cat run for Polly set up before that day comes. She is really just as happy hunting toys as wildlife and I love to see the birds coming to my garden.