What you missed (but it’s not too late!)

During the secularist/humanist/atheist fundraising drive for Doctors Without Borders (DWB), I offered an autographed copy of WEIT—with a gratis hand-drawn cat produced to your specification—to any reader who donated $100 to the organization and could provide evidence of donation.

Seven readers took me up on it, and that—along with my own contribution and the more than $500 that the two autographed eBay books garnered—brought the donations of our readers to over $1300. I’m quite proud of that.  But really, it’s only a drop in the bucket for that organization, so I think that henceforth I’ll adopt Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) as the Official Charity of WEIT™.  It’s completely secular and does a hell of a lot of good.

I’ve gotten a lot of nice thank yous for the autographed books, but am putting this one up because it’s too cute to resist.

The backstory is this: one reader, Tim, sent this request:

I have enjoyed your “blog” for some time and would like to take you up on your generous offer of an autographed copy of WEIT in exchange for a donation to DWB. I actually have a hard copy, which I very much enjoyed, but my kids would love to have a feline artwork of yours if possible! My kids love animals and I frequently share the pictures and videos of animals that you post with them. I will also add that we have 5 cats (Buddy, Dozer, Freddy, Boo Boo and Baxley) that are very spoiled and well-loved. If you would be so kind as to address the autograph to Anya and Leif it would be greatly appreciated!

I asked if he wanted his cat drawn in any particular way.  He responded and sent a photo, too:

Anya says she likes when Dozer stands on his back legs and reaches up her leg to get some fusses, could you do something like that?

I added a picture of 4 of our 5 cats. From left to right, Freddy, Boo Boo, Dozer and Buddy.

I asked Tim what “fusses” were. He responded:

Fusses are scratching and petting about the head and ears. I picked it up from my English brother-in-law.

So I autographed the book, added a drawing of Dozer getting fusses, and later received this lovely photo and reply.

Jerry, we received the book and the kids loved it! Your rendering of Dozer is great!

Thanks again for your thoughtful effort, Tim

Leif (holding Dozer) and Anya with the book. I love this photo!

Here’s an enlargement from the photo, showing Dozer getting his “fusses.” YOU TOO can have something like this (see below):

Dozer looked very large here, so I inquired about his poundage and the source of his name.  The response:

Dozer is pretty big: 17 lbs, mostly in the head. He has surprisingly short legs. When we got him as a rescue cat he was 2 years old and had not been neutered so he had a very thick tom cat head and neck, thus he was named after a bulldozer. He has shrunk a bit since being fixed. The perspective of the picture makes him look a bit bigger.

Seventeen pounds! That’s a lot of tabby.

Anyway, I’ve decided to extend my offer for one week, until next Wednesday (after that I’ll be heading to Europe).  Any reader who donates $100 or more to Doctors Without Borders—and sends me a receipt or proof of donation—will receive a similar copy of WEIT, autographed to your specifications and with a hand-drawn cat (I’ve drawn some of the readers’ own cats).  No dogs, please! My supply of books is getting low, so move fast. Email me your request and proof of donation.

You can donate to DWB directly here.


  1. Posted September 19, 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    You just reminded me to go check the mailbox. Thank you!

    I still need to get an ink pad, but I should have a chance to do that this week….


    * I have no idea what “q1” is supposed to mean, but it’s what Baihu typed as he transitioned from the desk to my shoulders. b&

  2. Diane G.
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    “Fusses.” I love that! What a sweet blended family.

  3. Dan McPeek
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Coyne:

    Totally off subject, but if you haven’t viewed (just posted); Google: PROOF THAT CATS ARE BETTER THAN DOGS (YOU TUBE) 3:20.

    Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
    At one time I had 7 cats in a mobile home. Have 2 dogs now. Love ’em all!.

    • Posted September 19, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      • Marella
        Posted September 20, 2012 at 2:18 am | Permalink


        • Dawn Oz
          Posted September 20, 2012 at 2:50 am | Permalink

          Thank you, I’ll send it on to all my friends who own these lesser creatures, as well as those who are owned by their cats.

  4. See Nick Overlook
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Will you be autographing the copy that PZ sends to Kent Hovind? http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/09/19/kent-hovind-writes/

  5. JBlilie
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Great inscription, thanks all for sharing this.

  6. JBlilie
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    OOh, ooh, I donated $100. Proof on the way, Dr. C.! (I already bought QTY=2 of the bargain HBs of WEIT on Amazon a while back!)

  7. Posted September 19, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Jerry! I had no idea you could draw!

  8. ed hessler
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    I hope sometime you will post a few of your drawings although I understand that they should be used for special occasions only.

    What wonderful photographs of Dozer and what a great name.

  9. Marta
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    If you were going to do some serious fund-raising for Médecins Sans Frontières
    you might consider having bookmarks made with your book’s cover info on one side, blank on the other. For a donation of say, $25, you could offer to sign the book mark either on the back or the front. Postage’d be a first class stamp, and I bet a lot of people would love to have a Coyne cat bookmark. I would!

    • Posted September 19, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      You remind me — I was going to mention.

      If I had to pick two causes to support, they’d be MSF and the ACLU. There’re other worthy causes out there, to be sure, but none more important to me than them.

      The ACLU is only of tangential interest to the international audience, which makes MSF the obvious winner, and it makes me glad that Jerry went with said winner.


    • JBlilie
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 4:51 am | Permalink


  10. barryleder
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    I made a $100 contribution but I cannot figure out how to get an email to you. Probably obvious, but I am overlooking it.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 4:16 am | Permalink

      Just find my university email address: Google “Jerry Coyne University of Chicago” and send the receipt and your snailmail address (as well as signing/drawing wishes) there.

      Thanks for your donation!

  11. barryleder
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    I made a contribution but don’t know how to get an email to you. I think you can see my direct email.

  12. Dawn Oz
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 2:45 am | Permalink

    Jerry – a deal. I will donate $100, if you get your publisher to make WEIT available on the Kindle app for Australians. We are a nation of early adopters (although this isn’t early), and I appreciate authors who remind publishes that there are other places apart from the US.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 4:15 am | Permalink

      Ah, I’ve already tried to do that, and failed miserably (it’s not my publisher who would do that, but my agent). Either you or other Aussies have suggested it, and I did my best.

      Anything else I can do to persuade you to cough up the bucks?

  13. michieux
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    You’re a sweet man, Prof. Coyne. And thanks for adopting DWB as WEIT’s charity; they are great people doing fantastic work, often in harm’s way, and deserve all the support they can get. (I like that you said DWB ‘does a hell of a lot of good’.)

  14. FastLane
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Pixel does the same thing when she wants picked up. She’s like a toddler in that she’ll stand on her back legs and reach up with her front to be picker up. As soon as she sees one of us reaching for her, she starts purring (before we even make contact). =)

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