Caturday felid trifecta: cats vs. birds, cat vs. d*g, and a love letter to a cat

Several readers sent me this item, which I thought was touching and also instructive: I didn’t know that Elizabeth Taylor (a great actress and perhaps the most beautiful woman in the history of Hollywood save Ava Gardner), was also a cat lover. The website Letters of Note includes a letter written by Taylor to her lost cat.  The circumstances:

For two months in 1974, as Richard Burton filmed his part in The Klansman, he and his wife, Elizabeth Taylor, moved to California with Cassius, just one of Taylor’s many beloved cats. Sadly, the trip confused Cassius somewhat and he soon went missing, never to return. Taylor wrote the following letter some time after his disappearance.

Picture 1The transcript:

Letter to my Lovely Lost Cat

I see you, my beauty boy, in the reflection of those shining black-brown rocks ahead of me. I see the green o’ thy eyes in every rained, sweated leaf shaking in my eyes.

I remember the sweet smell of your fur against my neck when I was deeply in trouble and how, somehow you made it better — you knew! You knew always when I hurt and you made comfort for me, as I did once for you when you were a broken kitten.

Anyway, I love you Cassius — and thank you for your beauty.

Please come back!

Liz et chat:



Birds annoying cats. Note how remarkably patient the cats are with animals that could, after all, be noms:


This cat, a boxing Siamese annoyed by a d*g, is not so patient. Man does that cat have a mean one-two punch!

h/t: Todd, Ginger, Amy, and another reader whose name I’ve forgotten (thanks!)


  1. Posted December 7, 2013 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Liz’s letter made me tear up. She was very feline in the grace of her movements too.

    (I’d like to submit Catherine Deneuve’s name as an additional candidate for the most beautiful actresses list. )

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted December 7, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      My vote probably goes to Sophia Loren, but my list would certainly include Michelle Pfeiffer, and Farrah Fawcett, which probably makes determination of my approximate age a trivial exercise…

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Awwww. I hate to hear of people losing pets. It’s the worst feeling. I lost my only kitteh too because he was feral and didn’t like the idea of living indoors with humans. After him, I developed allergies to cats which seem to be less so now. I saw the friendliest cat I’ve ever seen at a pet store a few weeks ago (the pet store does adoptions for the local humane society) and I so wanted to bring kitteh home but with allergies, it wouldn’t work out.

    • Posted December 7, 2013 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Awwww…. could you ‘sub-let’ one?

    • jesse
      Posted December 7, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Diana, occasionally there are cats that you may run across that you won’t be allergic too, so you might wish to keep looking for a cat to own. I don’t mean the purebreds like rex or hairless, but rather just mutt cats that for some reason you won’t be allergic to.

      • jesse
        Posted December 7, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

        ha! I gave you an extra o in there, just for good luck I guess : )

  3. Posted December 7, 2013 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    The Siamese is definitely de-clawed. That sure is a nice, patient d*g!

    • Marella
      Posted December 7, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I fear you’re right. That d*g would be far more respectful if the kitteh had its evolution given claws!

      • gbjames
        Posted December 7, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        Is it possible that the kitten has it’s claws but just isn’t using them?

        • Posted December 7, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

          Highly unlikely. Those strikes were not playful…and, with as much force as they were delivered, inertia coupled with feline physiology would have brought them out even if the cat didn’t flex those muscles.


          • js
            Posted December 7, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

            My two cats sometimes fight (play) like that and they always keep their claws in.
            Normally what starts them off is one of them annoying the other similar to the dog in the video so I guess it is possible it has its claws.
            I could never declaw my cats.
            That would be a terrible thing to do to them.

            • Posted December 7, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

              Oh, I know — Baihu and I play like that, as well.

              Which is how I know that the claws will come out of their own, even when the cat isn’t using the muscles that bring them out.

              Even if the cat was being playful, that dog’s snout would look like it had been trying to get to the blackberries in a briar patch had the cat not been a victim of feline digital mutilation. And if, as I’m basically certain, the cat wasn’t being playful, the dog would have needed stitches.

              Patty-cake can be a fun game to play with a cat, but you have to go into it knowing that the cat will draw blood, even though unintentionally. Not much blood, to be sure — again, it’s no worse than going blackberrying, and every bit as fun and worth the scratches.

              …and also keep in mind that, when you tag the cat, it must always be as lightly as possible; you’re only counting coup, even if the cat lands some swifter hits. Also, a claw will occasionally snag on skin, and it’ll be a bit awkward to disentangle yourself.

              (Cats generally don’t have those problems because of the way their fur works.)

              Oh — and if the cat wants to call it quits, that’s absolutely it, game over.


        • Marella
          Posted December 10, 2013 at 2:44 am | Permalink

          It’s possible, but unlikely. Cats are pretty free with their claws even when playing and that one looks pretty pissed off. Also it would have to have never used its claws on the dog for the dog to be so lacking in respect.

  4. Alexandra M
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    The last bird in the first video seemed like it was trying to teach the kitten to “speak.”

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 7, 2013 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      Yeah it seems the parrot was imitating meows.

    • Posted December 7, 2013 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      I was wondering about that!

  5. gbjames
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    I don’t know. Liz may have been a beauty, but I don’t think the her understanding of the way the world works was very deep. Cat’s can’t read.

    • Posted December 7, 2013 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      I’m sure the letter was CAThartic to her.

      • gbjames
        Posted December 7, 2013 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        Nah. An example of cathexis.

        • Posted December 7, 2013 at 10:54 am | Permalink

          Had to look up the word. Thanks. Turns out I might have suffered from that too. 😉

  6. Posted December 7, 2013 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Then sayeth Ceiling Cat to the parrots, “Reach hither thy beak, and behold my paws; and reach hither thy talon, and thrust it into my fur … and be not faithless, but believing.”

  7. jesse
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    The Liz letter is lovely. I wonder how many people will be able to read the actual letter in the future, since so many schools are quitting teaching penmanship.

    I think Grace Kelly was stunning also.

  8. Mobius
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Poor cat in the last one has been declawed, otherwise the dog would have a bloody nose.

  9. Posted December 7, 2013 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Most of those birds seemed to be annoying the cats, but at least one was clearly engaging in grooming behavior that the cat appreciated.

    I’m reminded of that video of the cat and owl duo (that’s appeared here before) with the two of them play-fighting just like any young predator siblings do.


  10. MNb
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Some less heroic cats:

  11. Griff
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Such a huge range of intelligence amongst birds. I find them fascinating to watch.

  12. Marlon
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    I’m thinkin’ that to a little bird brain, fur may be a good place to look for fleas or ticks.

    • Posted December 7, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      … and lice. 😛

      • Marlon
        Posted December 7, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        Teeny tiny birdie noms.

    • gbjames
      Posted December 7, 2013 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      I don’t think parrots and parakeets are insectivores.

      • Posted December 7, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        Not only does Wikipedia suggest otherwise…well, in my experience, almost no species will turn down an easy protein snack, and pretty much any species that will engage in grooming behavior is going to eat parasites rather than discard them.

        You can pretty much bet that, if the birds were engaging in grooming behavior — and, clearly, at least one of them was (the one that paid special attention to the cat’s whiskers) — that any insects they discovered would have been instantly nommed.



        • Diane G.
          Posted December 7, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

          Nonetheless, psittacines are very social, and in many social animals mutual grooming behavior also serves other functions such as maintenance of flock (in this case) stability, hierarchies, etc.

          • Posted December 7, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

            Oh, of course! Didn’t mean to imply that nutrition was the primary reason for grooming — not by a long shot. I was just pointing out that species that do engage in grooming are going to, virtually always, be eating whatever they groom out….


        • Posted December 7, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

          Yes, and even hummingbirds will enjoy things like aphids.

          • Posted December 7, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

            Hummingbirds are voracious insectivores. They’re famous for the nectar they love, yes. But much of the time they’re not at the flowers and feeders, they’re hunting insects….


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