Caturday felids: The British Museum cats, the best of Caturdays, and a reader mourns her cat

The British Museum has a swell post and podcast about its cats. For years there were feral cats hanging around the Museum, and then most were “eliminated” (best not to ask questions).  Then, for two decades, they took care of a half dozen cats to keep the mouse population down. You can read the story, but I’d recommend listening to the podcast because of the Received Pronunciation of the speakers, the anecdotes that are funnier when spoken, and the funny names of the  Museum Cats:

This is the old sign that got Nick Harris interested in the story:

The Museum eventually decided to remove their feline inhabitants, and a dedicated group of volunteer staff brought the population down to just six (all through very humane means). At this point a cleaner called Rex Shepherd (who became known to staff as the Cat Man) formed the Cat Welfare Society. For the next 20 years, Rex and the Society kept the Museum cat population healthy and at a manageable number.

This group of cats consisted of Suzie, who spent much of her time prowling the Museum’s colonnade waiting to catch pigeons in mid-air, Pippin and Poppet who could roll over on command (all you had to say was ‘sayonara’) and Wilson, named after the British Museum director Sir David Wilson (who did not like cats). The cats even became an international phenomenon thanks to the coverage they received from the media during the 1980s and 1990s. But for all that coverage, the only reason I now know anything about them is thanks to an outdated sign stuck to a wall en route to the Museum canteen.

Pippin, Maisie and Poppet

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The Cheezburger Site has a “Caturday collection” of some of its best photos. Here are a few. The first is an all-time classic:

This is a great one:

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Finally, a sad email from reader Ginger, who sent photos and a memoriam for her late cat:

My sweet little baby girl kitteh Daphne Lucky Squeaky died on 8/31/17.  She was in terminal renal failure.  She had no quality of life, so I sent her to Ceiling Cat.  She is my second kitteh I lost this year.  The first was Timmy Starr Garcia on 1/5/17.
Daphne was a quiet, shy little girl.  She spent most of her time hiding under the bed because the late Timmy Starr picked on her a lot.  When she was out she loved spending time with her boyfriend Taber Socks.  She adored Taber.  She slept next to him, put her arms around him, groomed hm, sat with him.  Unfortunately, Taber Socks rarely reciprocated.  But little Daphne remained undaunted in her affections.  Her name Lucky means that we were lucky to find each other.  She got the name Squeaky because she didn’t meow; she squeaked like a hinge that needs some WD40.
Daphne is on the left, her sister Lucy on the right:
Little Daphne loved breakfast cereal.  Not the sugary kind, but plain flakes like Special K.  She’d always beg me for some.  Of course I let her have a flake or two and she was satisfied.
 
I miss my little girl.  Lucy Lucky Sweetpea is looking for her sister.  They’ve never been separated.  I got them together at the pound; they were in the same cage.  Naturally, Daphne was afraid of me at the pound.  When I removed her from her cage, I said to her, “you don’t have to be scared, little girl.  I’m your new Mama.” All her life she was tiny, probably the runt of the litter.

I love you, Daphne.  I’m glad we were in each other’s lives for 15 years.

h/t: Paul, Malcolm, Michael

21 Comments

  1. Claudia Baker
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    😪

  2. BJ
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    The museum cats can only be fed at the B.M. site? What ever happened to “don’t shit where you eat”?

    I’m sorry for your loss, Ginger. Daphne seems like a swell cat.

    • Ginger
      Posted September 30, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, BJ. She was a sweet little girl. I really miss her.

  3. Randy schenck
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    15 years is a good run with lots of memories.

    • Ginger
      Posted September 30, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      It never seems enough.
      Ginger

  4. challedon
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    So sorry about Daphne, Ginger. I understand your sorrow, I had to say goodbye to my little girl of 17 years yesterday.

    • Ginger
      Posted September 30, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      I’m so sorry Chalcedony. I empathize with you most sincerely.

      Ginger

  5. Posted September 30, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Beautiful bunch of 🐈 Cats and other’s! Thank You. Very much! 🤗

  6. dabertini
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    As respectful as PCC(E) is, I could see him graffiting the old sign by writing not between strictly and forbidden.

  7. Mark R.
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Deaths in the family really suck. My condolences to you.

    • Ginger
      Posted September 30, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Mark. She was a sweet little girl.

  8. Ginger
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Claudia.
    Ginger

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted September 30, 2017 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      Your story made me give my kitteh extra cuddles this morning. I feel your pain.

  9. darrelle
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    So sorry to hear about Daphne, Ginger. Reading your memoriam brought tears to my eyes. Pardon me while I go find my Coco Chanel and give her some attention.

    • Ginger
      Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Darrelle. Cuddle Coco for me.

      Ginger

  10. Posted September 30, 2017 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    A sweet sendoff to your beloved cat. Condolences.

    • Ginger
      Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, SA.

      Ginger

  11. Posted September 30, 2017 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Heartfelt condolences to you and your family, Ginger.

    • Ginger
      Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Smokedpaprika.

      Ginger

  12. somer
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    I am very sorry for the loss of your sweet cat. Obviously you gave her a great life and she reciprocated with feline love.

    • Ginger
      Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Somer. Daphne was a very sweet little girl.

      Ginger


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