Caturday felid trifecta: Beatrix Potter’s lost cat book, pack of farm cats yowl for kibble, and giant felt cat heads

According to Minnesota Public Radio, the beloved Beatrix Potter started writing a gender-bending book about a cat—but the book was never completed (it’s now been finished and illustrated by others):

Here’s the backstory to this “new” Beatrix Potter book: Two years ago, a woman named Jo Hanks who’s an editor at Penguin Random House in the United Kingdom came upon a reference to a letter that Potter wrote in 1914. In that letter, Potter mentioned working on the manuscript of a story about “a well-behaved prime black Kitty cat who leads a rather double life.”

Hanks dug into Potter’s archives at The Victoria & Albert Museum and she found the manuscript of The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots. Potter had written three drafts of the story and had done one watercolor illustration of Kitty, but for various reasons, she died in 1943 without completing the book.

Skip to the present and this lavish debut edition of The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots.

What is it with cats and boots? (Not that I mind!) Here’s that one illustration, and they even look like cowboy boots:

Beatrix Potter wrote three drafts of The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots and did one watercolor illustration (above). But the book was left incomplete when she died in 1943, and it is now being published posthumously, with illustrations by Quentin Blake.

Kitty is apparently genderfluid, which will appeal to younger Snowflakes-to-Be:

[The] ominous tone is set in the very first story when Peter Rabbit’s mother gives him and his sisters — Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-tail — a warning: “Now, my dears,” said old Mrs. Rabbit one morning, “you may go into the fields or down the lane, but don’t go into Mr. McGregor’s garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor.” In its own quaint way, Potter’s landscape is every bit as Gothic as the Brontes’.

And, sometimes, as in The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots, Potter’s stories are nearly as surreal as Lewis Carroll’s. The “Kitty” in question here calls herself “Miss Catherine St. Quintin,” and she does, indeed, lead a double life. By day she’s the docile pet of a kind old lady; by night she’s a poacher who prowls the countryside armed with an air-gun and dressed in “a gentleman’s Norfolk jacket, and little fur-lined boots.”

Kitty is such a convincing gender nonconformist that she’s mistaken for “a sportsman” by Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, the hedge-hog from an earlier tale. Other recognizable furry faces include fellow feline Tabitha Twitchit, Mr. Tod the creepy fox and a much older Peter Rabbit, described as “stout” and “very fat.” Rest assured, this is the closest we come here to that dread Atticus Finch moment in which a beloved character is changed for the worse.

The book will be released in three days, and you can order it on Amazon, where it’s already #1 in Children’s Classics.


HiHomer tells us about a gang of farm cats (they look to be in very good shape) owned by Corey Karmann of Nebraska. Here’s a video of the herd showing up at feeding time. Listen to those yowls! The owner, who goes by the name karmanno, promised on YouTube to reply to the many critical comments (you can just imagine what was said!), but I haven’t yet seen his reply.


Finally, I’ve written before about Giant Felt Cat Heads, which can scare the bejeezus out of anyone; but there’s a new report, with new pictures, at (see also RocketNews24). 

What better way to turn heads on the street than with a head? That’s the philosophy behind these awesome new cat masks designed by Japanese wool artist Housetsu Sato, who uses wool felt to make natural-looking cats heads that fit perfectly atop a human body. The artist has been perfecting the cat head design since April 2015, after he made a two-metre tall beckoning cat for a school festival that became incredibly popular. Sato found that the cat head on its own was a hit with students, who looked like hybrid feline-human beasts when they put it on.

. . . The heads are made of wool and look incredibly realistic if you don’t consider how big they are, and the eyes look like they’re following you wherever you go. All the heads are individually handmade, and the short-haired cat heads can be completed within a month. You can even get a head of your own cat made if you send the artist a photo.

I’ll have a Hili head, please! Ten to one you’d scare the hell out of your cat if you put one on.

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. . . The heads don’t come cheap, however. They sell for 648,000 yen, which is about $6,220 US dollars. You can purchase them online from the Japanese site Dwango. The cost is pretty steep, but can you really put a price on walking around with a giant cat head and creeping out everyone around you?

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For lagniappe, go read “Careless Whisker” (great title!) at the Guardian, describing an album of music for cats that will be released in late October.

h/t: Merilee


  1. Merilee
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Probably the thing with boots is because some kittehs have (usually white)”boots” naturally.

    (And then there’s our Carmen Dingle who came from the Humane Society named Mittens and she has nary a hair of a mitten.)

    • jaxkayaker
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      I think of those as socks, not boots, especially because cats generally move about silently, on little cat feet.

      • Merilee
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        :-). But there do seem to be a lot of kitties named, not very creatively, Boots.

        • jaxkayaker
          Posted September 3, 2016 at 11:49 am | Permalink

          And named Socks, for that matter, like the Clintons’ cat when Bill was president.

  2. rickflick
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    The sound of a throng (is that the right word?) of cats gnawing on dry kibble is somehow very pleasing. I’d think that sound would make a good pacifier for nervous humans.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Clowder, clutter, glaring, or pounce of cats. Apparently there are collective nouns specifically for house cats and wild cats, too.

      • Merilee
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 1:29 pm | Permalink


      • rickflick
        Posted September 3, 2016 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        I do like pounce. Catcophany is catchy, but a little too shrill perhaps.

        • Merilee
          Posted September 3, 2016 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

          Catcophany only for the yowling sound at kibble scattering time🐾🐾

  3. DrBrydon
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    OMG! You know what the maker should do? He should make the eyes so the pupils can expand or contract. Can you imagine someone wearing that, and the pupils going to full catnip?

  4. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    “for various reasons, she died in 1943”

    One might almost suspect Potter of having nine lives.

  5. Diana MacPherson
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Too bad you couldn’t safely wear one of those cat heads while driving!

    I love the illustration of the kitty in boots! It reminds me of those mediaeval illustrations of cats.

  6. barn owl
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Some suburban and urban USAians might be dismayed to know how many cats (and dogs, for that matter) are dumped in rural areas, because “farmers will take care of them.” Sometimes yes, and sometimes no, and often death on the highway.

    My grandparents farmed in eastern Colorado, and my grandmother turned no cat away, as far as we could tell. She always had lots of cats that she fed and petted – the friendlier ones hung out in the yard by the farmhouse, and the more wary ones stayed out at the barn. For many years the cats were fed table scraps, eggs, and milk, but later on I think my cousins convinced my grandmother to buy actual cat food. The cats might have liked the table scraps and eggs better, to be honest.

  7. Kevin
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    That’s my guitar….!!!! What’s a cat doing with it.

  8. lezurk
    Posted September 5, 2016 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    At first glance that looked like my rear deck in the morning with my six barn cats Obama, Solo, Cleo, Hopper, Harley, and momma cat Pit (bottomless pit when it comes to food). All my cats are neutered, and receive vet care from a local vet here down in Cumberland County Illinois. I also have a VERY spoiled indoor cat named You who is not permitted to go outside. The mother cat Pit showed up at my door hungry and pregnant a couple of years ago. I’m guessing she was abandoned by someone from a local town. The Kittehs:

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