Caturday felid trifecta: Cat weather vanes; cat runs for rector at Scottish university; cats review a laser toy

To introduce today’s trifecta, here’s a cartoon contributed by reader Blue:

Reader Kevin called my attention to West Coast Weathervanes, which sells the eponymous product in custom designs. What’s nice about the place is that many of its weathervanes are shaped like cats, and they also have a page of cats who live in the shop or who have visited the shop. The page is called “Shop cats and friends“. Here are two screenshots of the page; they even had a visiting bobcat!


And they make the loveliest copper “Cats and kittens weathervanes“, which you can see at the link. If you’re in the market, how can you pass up one of these? (There are several others, including a bobcat.)


There’s a big kerfuffle in Scotland, as the students at Aberdeen University have seriously nominated a white cat, Buttons, to be the University’s rector. But they won’t allow him because of speciesism. Since the rector, I’m told, doesn’t have any real duties except to preside over meetings, it seems to me a cat could do the job well.  The Herald of Scotland has the story (click on the screenshot):

Some of the story:

HUNDREDS are protesting a ban over a cat becoming a candidate in a new University of Aberdeen Rector election.

A group of sixty students signed a rectorial nomination form supporting Buttons the campus moggie’s bid to become the new Rector in the wake of disillusionment with the election process.

The bid has already been officially rejected by the election co-ordinator because the cat was not human.

Now hundreds have supported an online campaign to have Buttons reinstated as a runner in the race to become Rector.

Here’s a poster for Buttons:

More news (my emphasis):

It comes just two months after the University was at the centre of an “abuse of power” row as it ratified a decision to scrap the Rector election over allegations of “dirty tricks” by the campaign for Maggie Chapman, the co-convenor of the Scottish Greens.

. . . The nomination explains that Buttons is a white cat who lives on campus and that campaigners decided that he is the “right individual to represent the interests of the student body”.

They said the reasons to vote for Buttons were that he lived locally, engages with the student daily, is a political and “is fluffy and friendly”.

“Buttons is a chance for the student population to truly stand up and have their say after such an unfortunate election last year. Buttons stands for change,” says the campaign group.

“Vote for Cats not Bureaucrats!”

But Phil Hannaford, the election returning officer has ruled that Buttons does not meet the requirements under the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator Guidelines to being a charity trustee.

Election co-ordinator Nicholas Edwards told the campaigners: “Both the returning officer and I appreciate Buttons’ interest in the role and wish him well in his future endeavours.”

What a patronizing answer! It’s time to stop this prejudice against felines holding positions for which they’re perfectly qualified.

Here’s the petition for his nomination. I think we readers can put it over the top—only 101 to go! Professor Ceiling Cat would be so pleased if it exceeded 500! (Of course this is just for the record; the University will not bend to their ridiculous stipulation that the Rector be a human). Click on the screenshot to sign (I have):


Finally cats and their staff review a laser toy—unfavorably. I’m told you shouldn’t use lasers as toys since the cats never get the satisfaction of a capture.

h/t: Kevin, Beckie, Grania


  1. Michael Fisher
    Posted February 17, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    …Rector election over allegations of “dirty tricks” by the campaign for Maggie Chapman, the co-convenor of the Scottish Greens…

    Typo. It’s Moggie Chapman surely.

    [Don’t call me Surely]

    • rickflick
      Posted February 17, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Roger, Roger. What’s our vector, Victor?

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted February 17, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

        A rare film indeed. There aren’t many good spoofs. I’m looking forward to viewing, for the first time, Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein – coming to my local arty flea pit next week in combo with High Anxiety & Blazing saddles!

        • rickflick
          Posted February 17, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

          Spaceballs is good too. They make me laugh out loud, which isn’t easy.

  2. Barry Lyons
    Posted February 17, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Yes, I feel the same way about lasers: they frustrate cats.

  3. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted February 17, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I love the cat-mice weather vanes, and even more the cat names.
    I’m pretty sure that I’ve “fussed” Buttons at some time between the swimming pool and the Machar Bar. Hangs out around The wee gardens at'58.5%22N+2%C2%B006'06.2%22W/@57.166253,-2.1022772 . I’m sure he’d do a better job than many of the previous incumbents. But I don’t see the Charity Commissioners bending on this one.

  4. Laurance
    Posted February 17, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Caturday! Yes, that’s right, it’s Caturday and I had other things on my mind and forgot that it’s Caturday.

    I had my dear little stripy cat put to sleep this morning. Isaac Isaiah has been fading away for some time now. I’d said, “He won’t last till his next vet appointment. One week? Two? Two may be too long.”

    I had other plans this morning. But clearly things weren’t right. This kitty is not okay. I think it’s Time. So I called the vet and took him in.

    The vet agreed. Yes, it’s time now. He’s miserable and uncomfortable now. There’s nothing more to do for him.

    I have a little pet cemetery under the bushes. It was really warm the other day, so I went out and dug a grave. If he were to die when the ground is frozen, I wanted to be able to have a place for him.

    Today was the day. I’ve buried the dear little guy. Goodbye, Isaac Isaiah, and thank you for bringing your sweetness into this house and into our lives.

    It’s Caturday, and a cat’s illness and suffering has ended on Caturday. There’s a goodness in that.

    • BJ
      Posted February 17, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      I’m sorry, Laurance. It’s strange, but it’s often more difficult to lose a cat than a close family member. A cat is part of your family, but you also see him and live with him and hang out with him every day. I’ve had plenty of relatives die, but their deaths weren’t nearly as poignant as those of my cats because I just wasn’t as close to them.

      May your cat’s atoms be used to build only the best of things in this universe.

      • claudia baker
        Posted February 17, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        Lawrence, I understand exactly how you are feeling today. Hugs.

        • claudia baker
          Posted February 17, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

          Sorry, ‘Laurance’.

        • Laurance
          Posted February 18, 2018 at 7:13 am | Permalink

          Thanks, Claudia, for your kind hugs!

      • RGT
        Posted February 17, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        So true, I had to say goodbye to my sweet little girl last October and never in my life have I been so heartbroken and sad.
        Rest easy Isaac Isaiah, may eternity be filled with soft beds and sunny windows.

        • Laurance
          Posted February 18, 2018 at 7:17 am | Permalink

          Thanks, RGT, for your kind response. I can sure understand the heartbreak and sadness your little kitty’s death brought you, just as you understand mine.

      • Laurance
        Posted February 18, 2018 at 7:12 am | Permalink

        Thank you, BJ. I didn’t have Isaac Isaiah cremated. As Neil DeGrasse Tyson pointed out, the heat just disperses up and away, while with burial the elements go back into the earth. Every year I plant flowers in my little pet cemetery and have things live from the deaths of these precious cats.

        And I, too, have a harder time with the deaths of our cats than with relatives I don’t know well.

      • E.A. Blair
        Posted February 18, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

        “It’s strange, but it’s often more difficult to lose a cat than a close family member. A cat is part of your family, but you also see him and live with him and hang out with him every day. I’ve had plenty of relatives die, but their deaths weren’t nearly as poignant as those of my cats because I just wasn’t as close to them.”

        How true. I have been out of touch with my remaining family members for seventeen years (their fault, my choice), and I grieve for a lost kitty far more than I would for one of them*.

        This is why I have become a two-cat staff. When Freti Died, I adopted Isa, who is now 13, and when Kveldulf died, I adopted Samone who is now 7. When you have two cats and you lose one, it’s less like you’re replacing a family member than it is a matter of restoring balance to the household.

        Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s sensibilities aside, I had Freti and Kveldulf crremated and had the remains returned. Per her wishes, my late wife was cremated, and the cats we shared have joined her in her urn. I am a renter, and lack a permanent* place to establish a cemetery for my lost children.

        *I was supposed to have inherited the family house, but my sister, using a legal loophole, signed the deed over to herself and took it and all the family heirlooms in it and gave it to her daughter and her daughter’s husband. That is a small part of the reasons for my separation from her. If she dies before I do, the only reason I have to attend her funeral is to stick a pin in her to make sure she’s really dead. Had the house gone to me as my parents intended, I’d have a place to bury my former companions.

        • Laurance
          Posted February 19, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

          Hello, E.A….two cat staff! And now I’m abruptly a one cat staff. Isaac Isaiah was a quiet little cat, and towards the end when he spent his time “meditating” behind my bed he was even quieter. And yet now that he’s moved from the bedroom to the little pet cemetery I sure do feel him absence! There’s a hole in the energy in this house. Something vital is missing. I can understand what you’re saying by “balance”. The balance is off here.

          And I can understand cremating when you don’t have a nice place under the bushes. My daughter opted for cremation when she lived in an apartment. And there was another reason for cremation, but that’s another story. And our Favorite Family Member was living in an apartment when his cats died, so they are here in my little cemetery.

    • Posted February 17, 2018 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      Oh Laurance, I know exactly what you mean! We’re coming up the one-year anniversary of losing our dear Gus, and I still miss him every day. Although I certainly don’t miss his final suffering. He’s at rest, and we’re carrying on, keeping him warm and safe in our hearts. But I’m crying now, just thinking of him.

      • Laurance
        Posted February 18, 2018 at 7:21 am | Permalink

        Hello, Peter, and thanks for writing. I have similar thoughts about my cats that you have about Gus. Like you, I miss my cats terribly, but I’m so glad they are no longer suffering.

        So often Death is a friend. I visit the nursing home every day and I see the suffering and misery of people who have lived too long.

  5. BJ
    Posted February 17, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Finally, students are protesting for something worthwhile! I knew there were some mature young people out there itching to make a real difference.

    I have an envelope with a résumé inside addressed to West Coast Weather Vanes sitting here on my desk. I just have to finish typing this comment…

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 17, 2018 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      Yes, good on Scotland! I signed the petition!

      • BJ
        Posted February 17, 2018 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        I didn’t, but only because I can’t do so without giving my email. But my decision breaks my heart 😦

  6. DrBrydon
    Posted February 17, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    I think Aberdeen is on to something. Replace all university administrators with cats!

    • BJ
      Posted February 17, 2018 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      My goodness, you just solves all the problems with university administrations in one stroke! Next: every government in the world.

      Sure, it will lead to a lot of rodent killing, but it’ll be worth it.

  7. Barney
    Posted February 17, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    The trouble is that the Rector of Aberdeen is also a member of the University Court, which has legal responsibilities:

    If you do want a cat to preside over meetings, you have to get the rules changed first so that they don’t have other responsibilities. That’s life. 😦

    • Posted February 18, 2018 at 5:38 am | Permalink

      The Rector is also supposed to represent students at the university court. However, Scottish students are notorious for electing unsuitable rectors, or ones unable to fulfil their function, such as Glasgow University electing Edward Snowden in 2014.

  8. E.A. Blair
    Posted February 17, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I had a similar experience with laser toys. Of my two cats, Isa, the older cat, chases the glowing dot; Samone barely acknowledges it’s there. I once bought a toy similar to the one in the video – a unit that sat on the floor or a shelf and projected a moving dot. I thought it could keep Isa amused when I wasn’t around. It didn’t. Eventually I gave it to a friend whose cat found it more interesting.

    Isa still chases the hand-held pointer around, and I attribute the phenomenon to two possible causes: either the projector’s movement patterns aren’t random enough to interest a cat or when I’m using the pointer ahe knows I’m engaging her even if I’m across the room. When I watched the video, I noticed that the cats only took an interest in the light when it was held by one of the staff, so it might be a little of both.

    In the days before laser ppointers, my family had a cat that chased the spot projected by an ordinary flashlight.

  9. David Coxill
    Posted February 17, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    My 4 cats go mad for laser pointers ,i think they are ok if you give them a toy or treat afterwards .
    Sometimes the only way i can get them in at night is by flashing the laser pointer outside.

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