Caturday felid trifecta: Two cats desperate to enter Japanese museum; a trove of cat mummies, more embarrassing cat confessions

Here are two reports about a pair of interloper cats who have been trying to enter the Hiroshima Onomichi City Museum for two years. The first headline is from the Evening Standard (click on screenshots):

And this from the Guardian:

The two cats are a black moggie named Ken-chan and his ginger friend that the Museum has named Go-chan.

The trouble started in 2016 when Ken-chan tried to get into the Museum. The guard refused him entry, as you can see in this tweet (Microsoft translation: “The security guard, ‘The ticket is not good’. Like a black cat.”

Ken-chan fails again last November.

From the Guardian:

Two cats that have spent the past two years trying to enter an art museum in western Japan – only to be politely turned away at the door – have become online celebrities with a global following willing them on in their attempts to see at least one exhibit up close.

Ken-chan, a black cat, attempted his first solo foray into the Onomichi city museum of art in summer 2016 during an exhibition of cat photography, but was prevented from entering by a security guard in a gentle standoff that was caught on camera.

“I’m guessing that Ken-chan spotted some of the exhibits through the glass, and since the photos included those of black cats, he must have thought he had found a new friend,” the museum’s curator, Shinji Umebayashi, told the Guardian. “And then he just kept coming back.”

Not to be deterred, Ken-chan started turning up accompanied by a ginger cat the museum staff named Go-chan. “I’d seen him around so we think he must live locally, but we’re not sure where, exactly,” Umebayashi said.

Ken-chan has struck up a friendship with the museum’s security guard, who playfully sends him on his way whenever he attempts to cross the threshold.

Go-chan fails to enter:

The sad thing is that the Museum is making money off these cats! At least some of that dosh should go to giving these cats forever homes (I’m assuming they’re feral):

The museum, which has more than 45,000 Twitter followers, recently launched a range of souvenirs featuring the two cats, but is struggling to keep up with demand amid a rise in visitors and orders sent via social media.

Ken-chan and Go-chan, who continue to visit “most days”, are often seen together in the museum grounds, said Umebayashi, adding that despite both being male, they have never exchanged so much as a hiss. “The museum is in a park so there’s no traffic to worry about,” he said. “They treat the park like it’s their own garden.”

The Japanese love their cats, but the Museum doesn’t love them enough.

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From NPR, Ars Technica, and the Guardian, we have the story of the opening of 4500-6000 year old tombs in Egypt containing not only mummified cats and cat statues, but also mummified scarab beetles.

From Ars Technica:

Archaeologists discovered dozens of mummified cats in seven previously undisturbed tombs in a 4,500-year-old pyramid complex near Saqqara, south of Cairo. The cats were found along with a collection of mummified scarab beetles, gilded wood cat statues, painted animal sarcophagi, and other artifacts.

Cat mummies. Photo from Egyptian ministry of antiquities.

From NPR:

While ancient Egyptians saw cats as divine, they didn’t exactly worship them, Antonietta Catanzariti, curator of the Smithsonian Sackler Gallery exhibit Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt, told NPR last year.

“What they did is to observe their behavior,” she said, and create gods and goddesses in their image — much as they did with other animals, including dogs, crocodiles, snakes and bulls.

And while cat mummies are fascinating, Catanzariti said they were also pretty common in ancient Egypt, where cats were bred for the purpose. “In the 1890s, people from England went to Egypt and they collected all these mummies. One cargo was 180,000 of them.”

Below are two linen-wrapped and mummified scarabs, apparently a first. From the Guardian:

Mostafa Waziri, head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the mission had also unearthed the first mummies of scarabs to be found in the area.

Two such mummies were found inside a rectangular limestone sarcophagus with a vaulted lid decorated with three scarabs painted in black, he said.

Another collection of scarab mummies was found inside a smaller sarcophagus.

“The [mummified] scarab is something really unique. It is something really a bit rare,” Waziri said.

“A couple of days ago, when we discovered those coffins, they were sealed coffins with drawings of scarabs. I never heard about them before.”

(Guardian caption): Mummified scarabs on display in a glass case found in a newly discovered tomb, at an ancient necropolis near Egypt’s famed pyramids in Saqqara, Giza, Egypt. Photograph: Nariman El-Mofty/AP

Another sarcophagus filled with scarabs:

Photo from Egyptian ministry of antiquities

From the Guardian:

Among the dozens of cat mummies unearthed were 100 wooden, gilded statues of cats and one in bronze dedicated to the cat goddess Bastet.

Cats held a special place in ancient Egypt and were mummified as religious offerings.

Cat statue, and a lovely one:

(From Guardian): Cat statues and mummies have been unearthed from ancient tombs on the edge of the pyramid site south of Cairo. Photograph: Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images

A tweet with a cat statue:

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Finally, I’m much amused by public shaming of cats for their misdeeds: I’ve done it before with our own Cat Confessions Contest. Now Purrshare has “20+ times cats were publicly shamed for their horrible yet hilarious crimes.” I’ll put up five specimens:

There are 45 other pictures on the five pages of the post.

h/t: Tom

12 Comments

  1. Posted January 11, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Caturday? Out there in the blue Pacific, you really have lost track of time. Good for you.

  2. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted January 12, 2019 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    I am feeling the sads that they don’t let the cats into the museum. With all the troubles in the world, let the cats in!

    • Posted January 12, 2019 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      + 1. These museum people have no hearts.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted January 12, 2019 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        Like the mummified cats, IIRC mummies’ internal organs (and brains) were removed and stored separately, before mummification.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted January 13, 2019 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Certainly let the cats in. But only after moving all the exhibits somewhere safe. Io, or Enceladus, perhaps?

  3. DrBrydon
    Posted January 12, 2019 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I’ve seen too many of the modern Mummy movies to feel anything but dread for the scarabs in the tomb….

  4. Posted January 12, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Who would think that scarabs need mummifying?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted January 13, 2019 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Egyptians who are afraid that one day there won’t be a scarab too push the sun across the sky.
      Makes more sense than most religions.

  5. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted January 12, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    What I still find most stunning about these cat mummies is that the DNA extracted from them showed they were tabbies, miniature tigers (a fact I learned here on WEIT).
    We know now what these Egyptian cats looked like, despite stripes missing on the sculptures. (And with their stripes we are healed…)

  6. Harvey
    Posted January 12, 2019 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Skitty’s compromise sounds like the kind of compromise Donald Trump is trying to get!

  7. Posted January 13, 2019 at 2:32 am | Permalink

    Homeless cats? Not Ken-Chan, as The Guardian article reported he was the resident cat of a restaurant near the museum.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted January 13, 2019 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      I thought he looked to be a chubby kitty.


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