Sunday, June 29, 2014

The return of the cat

 Die kat kom weer

Since the cat that currently owns me, KoningKat, returned form her six months stay with Duke, the owner of my children Vince, Mary and Jonathan, she has been as temperamental as I always knew her to be. (I am second-hand: I was previously owned by KatteRasie).

She does not eat the dry Mackerel cat food, but insist on uncooked chicken livers. A full 250g portion per day. 

and rattles the blinds until we adjust it to let in the winter sunrays.
and acts the suffering-cat-character in front of the switched-off electric heater.
and eats the flowers from the vase, but only when we have guests.
and many more deliberate and spiteful annoyances. 
and T. S. Eliot's collection of whimsical poems about feline psychology and sociology: Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939).

The Naming of Cats (excerpt from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats)
The full text is available at
A video clip is available at

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter

When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James, Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey
All of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat.

But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.

I found this list of cats and their peculiarities that are documented in literature.
Some of my favourites are Lewis Carroll's Cheshire Cat, Dr Seuss' Cat in a Hat, and T. S. Eliot's Old Deuteronomy and Macavity.

Cats in literature

CharacterEarliest Appearance and AuthorNotes
AlonzoOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. EliotA black and white tom, and is often considered the 'second-hand-man' to Munkustrap. He saves Demeter from Macavity, and is the first to attack him after he defeats Munkustrap.
AristotleAristotle by Dick King-SmithA kitten, who depends on his nine lives and the magical powers of his owner (a friendly witch) in order to emerge safely from various adventures.
BangsSam, Bangs and Moonshine by Evaline Ness
BehemothThe Master and Margarita by Mikhail BulgakovAn abnormally large black cat who walks on his hind legs and carries a pistol. Being a member of the devil’s entourage, he is wicked and devious. He has a penchant for chess, vodka, and pickled mushrooms.
BombalurinaOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. EliotA flirtatious red Queen with a white chest and black spots and marks.
BorregadLyrec by Gregory FrostBorregad and Lyrec are of an energy-based race who can shapeshift. When he and Lyrec hunt their archenemy into another world, Lyrec takes human shape, but Borregad has only enough strength to take the form of a cat. Borregad, a Jester figure, finds a variant of Guinness stout to cheer himself in this fantasy world.
Bustopher JonesOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. EliotA parody of an Edwardian gentleman of leisure and is described as the St. James's Street cat, a regular visitor to many gentlemen's clubs in the area, including Drones, Blimp's, and The Tomb. He is also extremely obese.
CarbonelCarbonel by Barbara SleighKing of the Cats, presumed missing by his subjects ever since the witch Mrs. Cantrip abducted him. Unfortunately he can't return to his throne until the enslavement spell Mrs. Cantrip cast on him is undone.
CatBreakfast at Tiffany's by Truman CapotePet of Holly Golightly.
CatIt's Like This, Cat by Emily Cheney NevilleA stray cat that 14-year-old Dave Mitchell adopts as a pet and confidant.
Cat MorganOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. EliotRetired and works as a doorman at the book publishers Faber and Faber. He is a gruff but likeable character.
The Cat in the HatThe Cat in the Hat by Dr. SeussA mischievous anthropomorphic feline from Dr Seuss's book of the same name
Cheshire CatAlice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis CarrollSometimes raises philosophical points that annoy or baffle Alice. It does, however, appear to cheer her up when it turns up suddenly at the Queen of Hearts' croquet field, and when sentenced to death baffles everyone by having made its head appear without its body, sparking a massive argument between the executioner and the King and Queen of Hearts about whether something that does not have a body can indeed be beheaded.
"Church" (Winston Churchill)Pet Sematary by Stephen KingThis unfortunate cat is killed by a truck, buried in the ancient burial ground of the title, then returns home, in a manner reminiscent of the dead son in the horror story "The Monkey's Paw".
CoricopatOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. EliotMale twin to Tantomile. Coricopat and Tantomile are often portrayed as psychic cats, as they sense the presence of danger before it becomes apparent to the other characters.
CrookshanksHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. RowlingThe pet cat of Hermione Granger. He is described as having a "squashed face," which was inspired by a real cat Rowling once saw, which she said looked like it had run face first into a brick wall, most likely a Persian. Hermione buys Crookshanks from a shop in Diagon Alley out of sympathy, as nobody wants him because of his behaviour and his squashed looking-face. Rowling has confirmed that Crookshanks is half Kneazle, an intelligent, cat-like creature who can detect when they are around untrustworthy people, explaining his higher than normal cat intelligence and stature.
DemeterOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot
DinahAlice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis CarrollAlice's pet kitten in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. By Through the Looking-Glass she is an adult with kittens of her own.
DulcieThe Joe Grey Mysteries by Shirley Rousseau MurphyA talking orange tabby cat. She has solved numerous murders and other crimes with the help of her mate Joe Grey. She is also a library cat.

Fritti TailchaserTailchaser's Song by Tad WilliamsTailchaser joins with friends Pouncequick and Roofshadow on an epic quiest.
FirestarWarriors: The Darkest Hour by Erin HunterThe main character for the first arc of Warriors books (the "Original Series") as well as a major supporting character for the subsequent arcs.
GingerThe Tale of Ginger and Pickles by Beatrix PotterA yellow tomcat who ran a shop with his partner Pickles, a terrier.
GingerThe Last Battle by C. S. LewisA talking cat of Narnia, he is punished for his evil deeds by having his ability for speech removed and being banned from Aslan's Country.
Great Rumpus CatOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. EliotA hero in the world of the book and the musical.
GreeboDiscworld by Terry PratchettA foul-tempered one-eyed grey tomcat whose owner, Nanny Ogg, insists against all the evidence that he is a sweet, harmless kitten. In the course of the books, he has killed two vampires, eating at least one of them in the novel Witches Abroad: "The bat squirmed under his claw. It seemed to Greebo's small cat brain that it was trying to change its shape, and he wasn't having any of that from a mouse with wings on."
GriddleboneOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. EliotCompanion to Mungojerrie
GrowltigerOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. EliotA pirate cat.
GummitchSpace-Time for Springers by Fritz LeiberAs Fritz Leiber, a cat-lover, describes him, "Gummitch was a superkitten, as he knew very well, with an I.Q. of about 160. Of course, he didn't talk. But everybody knows that I.Q. tests based on language ability are very one-sided. Besides, he would talk as soon as they started setting a place for him at table and pouring him coffee." Gummitch doesn't get to prove himself by coffee; he proves himself by saving a life in his household.
Harry CatThe Cricket in Times Square by George SeldenFriend to Tucker Mouse and Chester Cricket
Joe GreyThe Joe Grey Mysteries by Shirley Rousseau MurphyA talking gray-and-white tomcat that has solved various murders and other crimes with the help of his mate Dulcie. Joe Grey has a docked tail after his tail was broken by a drunkard.
JellylorumOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot
JennieJennie by Paul GallicoA young boy named Peter is transformed into a cat after an accident, and is taken in by Jennie and taught the ways of cats.
JennyanydotsOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot
JupiterThe Deptford Mice by Robin JarvisWorshipped as the Lord of All by the rats, feared like a dark god of the sewers.
KittyBad Kitty by Nick BruelShe is a housecat who wreaks havoc around her owner's home when she is in a bad mood, hence the name. She has black fur and a white tuft of fur on her chest.
Liszt"Edward the Conqueror" by Roald DahlA woman believes a stray cat who appreciates her piano music is a reincarnation of Franz Liszt, to the disgust of her cat-hating husband.
MacavityOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. EliotA devilish cat. Part of the poem about him says, "Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity, For he's a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity".
Maisie MacKenzieMaisie series of children's books by Aileen PatersonAn anthropomorphic cat who lives in Morningside, Edinburgh
MauriceThe Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry PratchettThe eponymous fast-talking confidence trickster cat who operates a 'pied-piper' scam in the Discworld series of books - organising teams of rats to infest a town and then rapidly withdraw after payment to a 'tame' human.
MehitabelArchy and Mehitabel by Don MarquisAn alley cat who is the best friend of the cockroach Archy.
Mickey MiggsThe Kitten Who Thought He Was A Mouse by Miriam NortonAn abandoned kitten raised by the Miggs mouse family, who was not aware that he was a cat until he was befriended by and the children Peggy and Paul and the household cat Hazel.
Midnight LouieCrystal Days by Carole Nelson Douglas20 Pound (9 kg) tomcat companion to (and fellow investigator with) amateur sleuth, Temple Barr occasionally assisted by his sire 3 O'Clock Louie, his Ma Barker and her 24th Street gang, and his kit Midnight Louise.
MinoesMinoes by Annie M.G. SchmidtA cat who gets transformed into a human by a chemical accident.
Miss MoppetThe Story of Miss Moppet by Beatrix PotterOne of Tabitha Twitchit's daughters.
MisterThe Dresden Files by Jim ButcherA bob-tailed grey tomcat belonging to the wizard Harry Dresden. He is often used as a vessel for Bob (a spirit of intellect) to inhabit on intelligence missions.
MittensThe Tale of Tom Kitten by Beatrix PotterOne of Tabitha Twitchit's daughters.
Mr. MistoffeleesOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot
Mrs. NorrisHarry Potter SeriesThe pet cat of Hogwarts caretaker, Argus Filch. She patrols the corridors of the school looking for students skipping class, often foreshadowing the appearance of Mr. Filch himself.
MogMog the Forgetful Cat by Judith KerrFaithful pet of the Thomas family.
MoxieThe Subtle Knife by Philip PullmanWill's cat who leads him through the window to Citta'gazze, where he meets Lyra. Later, Will's daemon settles as a cat.
MungojerrieOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot
MunkustrapOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot
Nigger ManThe Rats in the Walls by H. P. LovecraftPlays a pivotal role.
Noboru WatayaThe Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki MurakamiLater renamed Mackerel.
Old DeuteronomyOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot
OrlandoA Camping Holiday by Kathleen HaleThe eponymous hero.
PeterThe Smile of the Sphinx by William F. TempleThis cat is thought, by the narrator, to be an extraordinarily stupid cat "who could never learn the simplest of tricks"; in fact, Peter is extraordinarily brilliant. He is part of a race of Felidae who originally lived on the Moon and who came to Earth, ages ago, to enjoy being spoiled by the Egyptians. This amusing tale explains why dogs howl at the Moon, why the Great Sphinx of Giza has its shape, and even why the Moon has craters.
Petronius the Arbiter (Pete)The Door into Summer by Robert A. HeinleinThe smart, loving cat of protagonist Daniel Boone Davis, who occasionally carries him in a carrying-bag and gives him saucers of Ginger ale to drink. Dan calls him Petronius the Arbiter because he thinks that Pete is a good arbiter (judge) of personality. If Pete doesn't like someone, Dan will distrust that person; Pete has always been proved right.
PixelThe Cat Who Walks Through Walls by Robert HeinleinThe title character of the book, who has an inexplicable tendency to be wherever the narrator happens to be. In one scene Pixel does, in fact, walk through a wall, and it is explained that Pixel is too young to know that such behavior is impossible.
PlutoThe Black Cat by Edgar Allan PoePluto is the narrator's cat. After becoming an alcoholic he starts abusing the cat, then trying unsuccessfully to kill it. When his wife intervenes in one incident he kills her instead then bricks the body up in a wall. The narrator is caught when the police come and hear sounds behind the wall, where the narrator accidentally entombed the still-living cat along with its mistress.
RalphRalph, or, What's Eating the Folks in Fatchakulla County? by Ned CrabbRalph weighs over 200 pounds, so he is a large kitty, but not a mean one, in this comic novel set in a fictional county of Florida. This murder mystery gives the "Who Did It?" answer away on the dust jacket illustration and becomes a fun "Whydunit" as the novel explores various characters, including the family that raises giant cats and a number of local villains who are eaten.
RalphRotten Ralph by Jack GantosA mischievous red cat who enjoys playing mean, practical jokes on his family.
RibbyThe Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan by Beatrix PotterA cat with a love for mouse pie, a good friend of the dog Duchess and cousin to Tabitha.
Rum Tum TuggerOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot
RumpelteazerOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot
SagwaSagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat by Amy TanA kitten who gained her Siamese markings by accident. She is capable of writing in Chinese with her tail.
Scarface ClawHairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy and various sequels by Lynley DoddA tough cat who scares Hairy Maclary and his canine companions, and even scares himself.
SimpkinThe Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix PotterThe Tailor's pet cat who fetches an essential cherry-coloured silk twist, but angrily hides it after he finds the tailor released his captive mice. After a change of heart, he gives back the twist.
SkimbleshanksOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot
Slinky MalinkiSlinky Malinki by Lynley DoddThe stalking and lurking adventurous cat who is a common cat during the day but becomes a thief as night falls.
SprocketsMission to Universe by Gordon R. DicksonSprockets is a stowaway feral kitten who becomes spaceship mascot. The crew members superstitiously believe that his finally learning to purr will portend success in their search for an inhabitable planet.
Squire GingivereMossflower by Brian JacquesSquire Julian Gingivere was odd among cats in the fact that he was a vegetarian. He lived with the owl Captain Snow, but the owl's appetite for meat, his bad table manners and their conflicting personalities led to a disagreement and then separation.
Stew-Cat, Blue-Cat and Clue-CatThe Thief of Always by Clive BarkerThese three cats are the friendly familiars of the magical Holiday House.
Tabitha TwitchitThe Tale of Tom Kitten by Beatrix PotterThe mother of three kittens Miss Moppet, Mittens and Tom Kitten, who tries hard to cope with their mischievous behaviour.
TaoThe Incredible Journey by Sheila BurnfordA Siamese cat who accompanies Luath, a Labrador Retriever, and Bodger, a Bull Terrier, on a 300-mile journey through the Canadian wilderness to rejoin their human family.
TimTim the Travelling CatA cat tries to make it back to its owner in Britain during the War. Out of print.
Tobermory"Tobermory" (in The Chronicles of Clovis) by H. H. MunroIn a short story by Saki, a cat is taught to talk, but knows too many personal facts about people and is all too willing to talk about them. He is taught by mild-mannered Cornelius Appin, who calls Tobermory "a Beyond-cat of extraordinary intelligence". When Tobermory embarrasses everyone present by proving to be a consummate gossip, his owner attempts to poison him. Saki's biographer comments, "The cat eludes the strychnine left out for him and falls instead in combat with a big yellow tom from the rectory. Not a hero's death but an honorable one, and comedy depends heavily on a sense of honor."
Tom KittenThe Tale of Tom Kitten by Beatrix PotterA curious but disobedient kitten in the children's stories "The Tale of Tom Kitten" and "The Roly Poly Pudding".
ThistleclawBluestar's Prophecy by Erin HunterAn ambitious grey tom living in ThunderClan. Tigerstar/claw's mentor.
Tristram and Yseult"The Hart" by Greg CostikyanThese two cats belong to the narrator of a short fantasy story and are described fondly: "Tristram and Yseult twined about my legs, meowing, and holding their tails high; they got stew, too, and a bit of milk."
Ungatt TrunnLord Brocktree by Brian JacquesAn evil wildcat who conquers the mountain stronghold Salamandastron. But the good badger Brocktree comes to regain the mountain.
Velcro"A Gift Before Leaving" by W. R. ThompsonVelcro, over twenty years old, lives with Hannah in a futuristic, artificially intelligent house. Velcro finds that whenever he meows, the house delivers a full bowl of cat food, and he gains five pounds before Hannah finds out and reprograms the house.

Unnamed cats

CharacterEarliest AppearanceNotes
Black kitten who eats human fleshCat's Eyes by Lee JordanA mild horror story in which a black kitten becomes an abnormally large black cat, who haunts the isolated house of the heroine, Rachel. In its kittenhood, it had led the other thirty cats of Old Miss Mulgrave to dine on her when she died in her home and the cats were starving. Rachel fears it is stalking her and her baby, with reason: "It was starving... Now it would eat anything."
Cat in the Picture, The"The Cat in the Picture" by Wright MorrisIn this macabre tale originally published in a 1958 issue of Esquire, a black cat slowly displaces a retired Captain from his bed, his wife, and his home. The shocking ending is worthy of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. More than one commentator compared the writing with Poe's.
Various far-future cats"Puss In Boots" by Ronald Anthony CrossThis science fiction story describes a world full of far-future cats on a planet where "cats were the closest thing to a religion that they had" and where cats "wandered freely and slept wherever they chose. There were huge communal cat boxes everywhere...filled with some form of brightly coloured pellets, which automatically emptied and were refilled with more of the same stuff." The fact that cats are no longer fed actual meat is a clue to the mystery in the story, about whether men are any longer real men.