Readers’ cats: Charlie, a Scottish felid

Like Richard Dawkins, I have a problem with calling a child of Muslim parents a “Muslim child,” but for some reason I have no problems with calling a cat from Scotland a “Scottish cat.” Here’s one of them.

Reader Alex, who attended my talk in Glasgow, sent a picture of his moggie Charlie and a brief history of the beast:

Charlie belongs to Kirsty and Alex, and is an 18month old mustachioed cat originally from Penicuik (which comes from the old Brythonic Pen Y Cog, meaning ‘Hill of the Cuckoo’) just outside of Edinburgh, but is currently residing in Glasgow. Like his human servants he is still adapting to the changes in local accent and slang that comes from moving from the East to West Coast of Scotland (even if it is only 52 miles!). He is named after Charlie Chaplin due to his little moustache that he regularly grooms. He is certainly a cheeky chappy.

Charlie enjoys sitting on, and crushing, important pieces of work; sprawling himself on the ground in inconvenient places; biting toes that poke out from under the bed cover; and making lots of noise. He spends most of his time looking cute after being particularly naughty.

Despite best efforts he refuses to read the book ‘Why Evolution is True’ and remains a staunch cat creationist, holding firmly to the belief that human evolution has been guided by cats to best serve the feline species. If he catches you reading such salacious books on evolution, he is liable to sit up on your chest and purr intensely to prevent you from reading.

And a gratuitious blurb:


  1. Posted November 30, 2012 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    well, if a cat’s born in Scotland, it’s Scottish!

    • gravelinspector
      Posted December 1, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      The cat, or at least one parent or grandparent. (I think ; this is a reference to who can play in the national football team, which seems to be a standing joke in Scotland. Not that I know, or care anything about football.)

  2. gbjames
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    A “Scotch cat” would be something else entirely.

    • JBlilie
      Posted November 30, 2012 at 5:57 am | Permalink

      Maybe sticky …

    • gravelinspector
      Posted December 1, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      A tartan moggie … hmmm, that would be a trick.

  3. marlonrh
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Handsome fellow. When I was a child, we had a cat with similar facial markings. We named him ‘Mitch’ after Mitch Miller.(Showing my age here.) When Mitch had kittens, we changed his name to Michelle.

    • Sean
      Posted November 30, 2012 at 5:53 am | Permalink

      We had a cat like that. Dino became Dina. The vet said “I can’t neuter this cat, He’s pregnant!”

  4. JBlilie
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Beautiful boy!

  5. teacupoftheapocalypse
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Given that birds have been shown to have regional accents, cats living in Scotland probably have a Scottish accent, so why not “Scottish cat”?

    Och aye the mew!

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted November 30, 2012 at 10:33 am | Permalink


  6. Posted November 30, 2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Beautiful. Looks a real character!

  7. suwise3
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Cat Creationist? A “belief that human evolution has been guided by cats to best serve the feline species?” Finally, a sensible theory!

  8. Occam
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    “Charlie belongs to Kirsty and Alex…”

    From my admittedly limited experience of cats, I doubt that a cat ever ‘belongs’ to anyone. If anything, Alex and Kirsty belong to Charlie.

    Charlie has deigned to choose Kirsty and Alex as his co-residents and providers in the regal manner which behooves to a felid. I’m sure they are deeply grateful for the honour thus bestowed upon them.

  9. Veroxitatis
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Nice moggie.
    May I take this opportunity of mentioning a serious issue. The numbers of Scottish wildcat (Felis silvestris grampia) have declined considerably over the past 30 years; the major reason being cross breeding with feral domestics. Estimates of surviving numbers vary between 100 – 400. I live within 7 & 20 miles of two major Angus glens and the last time I saw a wilcat in either was in the late 70’s. There has not been a reliable sighting of a wildcat in Glenesk (the nearest glen) or its environs for 8 years.
    The following site and vid gives a broad view of the issue:-

    • gravelinspector
      Posted December 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      All very true. And in the thick end of 30 years of walking the Scottish mountains, I’ve never been sure of seeing a wild cat.
      In other news, the gamekeepers are continuing to massacre our raptors, and are successfully closing ranks to keep the perpetrators from due punishment.
      I’m not a twitcher myself, but I well remember the first time I saw an osprey, fishing in the loch that I was bathing in. Because it was over a hundred miles from the known nesting areas, I kept the observation to myself for nearly 20 years until I heard that the publicly acknowledged distribution of the birds included the area I’d seen them.

  10. E.A. Blair
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    There is something everyone hast to see over at Tom The Dancing Bug

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