Thanks to alert readers, the cat stories are arriving in droves, so the Caturday felid is once again a trifecta:
First up, from The Atlantic, is the story of Kuzmai, a library cat in Russia.
A children’s library in the Russian city Novorossiysk just brought in a new employee: a cat by the name of “Kuzma.”
According to a news broadcast on Russia’s Channel 1, the library staff found Kuzma on the library’s front steps. They tried to find him a home but couldn’t … so they gave him a new name and the cushy title of “assistant librarian.”
Kuzma’s job description? Entertaining children, participating in theatrical performances, and greeting visitors on the steps of the library. His salary and benefits? Thirty packets of food a month plus bonus in the form of additional treats and scratches behind the ears. Not a bad deal in this fragile industry.
Kuzmai’s “job”, then, appears to involve hanging around a lot and feeding at the public trough—much like a U.S. Congressman. Here are some photos, with a superfluous bow tie and some of his papers. (What are they?) Maybe a Russian-speaking reader can translate those papers (enlarged in the video below), as well as what the video says. One thing I’ve learned in the past few years: Russians are among the most cat-loving people in the world!
By now you should be aware that there always is a Resident Cat at 10 Downing Street in London, with the official title of Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office, a position that has been filled since 1920. Larry, a rescue cat from the Battersea Animal Shelter, assumed that post in 2011, but there have been persistent rumors that Cameron wants to chuck him out, and also that Larry doesn’t mouse well.
That’s not surprising given he has to wear a stupid Union Jack bow tie! Why do they insist in denigrating cats this way? There is nothing that makes a noble animal (or a human) look dumber than a bow tie.
Last week, Yahoo News reported persistent rumors about Cameron’s disaffection with Larry, though 10 Downing Street tries to quash them:
British Prime Minister David Cameron’s office denied Saturday that his family has no love for Larry, the Downing Street cat.
Following claims in a new book that Cameron acquiring the moggy was little more than a public relations stunt, a “savelarry” hashtag began trending on Twitter.
Downing Street dismissed suggestions in journalist Matthew d’Ancona’s book on Cameron’s coalition government, “In It Together”, that Larry was an unloved pet.
A spokesman said: “Totally untrue. He is very popular with everyone in the building and we all get on purr-fectly well.”
. . .Larry was acquired in February 2011 after a rat was spotted in two television news bulletins scurrying around outside the black door of the prime minister’s residence in central London.
But his efficiency has been regularly called into question and it took him a few months to make his first confirmed kill.
Still, I’m worried. The PM residence acquired yet another cat, Freya, in 2012 and, although she was reported to have replaced Larry, it’s not clear. Wikipedia notes:
On 16 September 2012, it was reported that Prime Minister David Cameron had sacked Larry from the post of Chief Mouser, in favour of Chancellor George Osborne’s tabby, Freya, as the new Chief Mouser to patrol Numbers 10, 11, and 12. Some sources described the new arrangement as a “job share” to avoid any hurt feelings. Chief Mousers in the past have overlapped, or been phased in—though the position can and has remained vacant for extended periods of time. Larry is the only Chief Mouser listed on the official web site for Number 10.
Still, I’m not reassured by Downing Street’s Statement:
Reports have made him out as a cat more interested in snoozing than putting the frightners on inner-city rodents.
The Downing Street website says Larry has “captured the hearts of the Great British public and the press teams often camped outside the front door. In turn the nation sends him gifts and treats daily.
“Larry spends his days greeting guests to the house, inspecting security defences and testing antique furniture for napping quality.
“His day-to-day responsibilities also include contemplating a solution to the mouse occupancy of the house. Larry says this is still ‘in tactical planning stage’.”
“Contemplating” a solution that’s “in tactical planning stage”? That’s a euphemism for Larry’s not doing his job. Still, he was chosen for the job and rescued from a shelter, so he deserves not only to hold his position, but also to receive the love of Cameron and his family and staff.
Never trust a Prime Minister who doesn’t love cats. Churchill loved cats.
Finally, if you don’t find this story touching, you don’t belong here. It’s from Wil Wheaton’s tumblr page, where he often posts on rescued animals. Here’s the photo and the story, called “My dear raggedy old man”:
My dear raggedy old man Peter the Fearsome. I met him in November of last year at our local kitty shelter and fell in love instantly. In February he came home and I can’t imagine life without him. Pete had a very tough life on the streets, losing the tips of his ears to frostbite and developing crippling localized arthritis in his back leg. Relaxing on the couch is clearly what this kiddo was made for. He’s shy around strangers but with time will steal your lap-space…and your heart!