Twas the night before Christmas

Merry Xmas One and All, From Oscar & Ed

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below, When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

“Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN! On, COMET! on CUPID! on, DONNER and BLITZEN! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my hand, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath; He had a broad face and a little round belly, That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!

Clement Clarke Moore

Clement Clarke Moore wrote Twas the night before Christmas in 1822. It is also known as ‘A Visit from St. Nicholas’

The Mob

Cat(s) of the Month ~ November 2019
The Mob. New Jersey, 1961
Photograph: © Walter Chandoha
…looking for trouble no doubt… reminds me of a few of the moggies round these parts, Eh Osc?

In December 1949, late on a late winter’s evening, Walter was trudging to his three-room apartment through the New York city snow, when he spotted a kitten huddled in an alley. He cradled the shivering feline, slipped him into his heavy army coat, and carried him home to Queens, with the one thought of giving the poor creature a decent meal and bed for the night. Later, he gave the kitten as a present to his wife Maria, who was pregnant with their first child at the time. Around 11 o’clock that night, the kitten started charging around each room in the apartment like a demon possessed, astonishing Walter and Maria. “That cat is loco!” Maria exclaimed…. and the name stuck!

When Walter began taking pictures of his new adopted pet, he was so inspired by the results that he started photographing more kittens at a local animal shelter. So began an extraordinary career that would span seven decades.

The photo above is one of Chandoha’s most celebrated photos. The story goes that at one time, quite a few cats called in at the Chandoha’s farm home. Because he often fed them, these cats developed the habit of following Chandoha (No surprise there!). One day, while walking down the road with his camera, a gang of cats began tailing him. He dropped on his stomach in the road and took an iconic image of five determined cats ambling toward the camera.

Additional subjects for which Walter is known are fruits, vegetables, flowers, and New York City street scenes. Over his long career, his archive grew to more than 225,000 photographs including approximately 90,000 photographs of cats.

RIP Walter George Chandoha (November 30, 1920 – January 11, 2019)

A book ‘Walter Chandoha. Cats. Photographs 1942–2018’ is published by Taschen, if you can afford it, that is!

Read more about the great man and his work on the New York Times website ,and another informative article about Walter here.

Himalayan

The Himalayan, Himalayan Persian (or Colourpoint Persian as it is commonly referred to in Europe), is a sub-breed of long-haired cat similar in type to the Persian, with the exception of its blue eyes and its point colouration which were derived from crossing the Persian with the Siamese.

The creation of the ‘Himmy’ took years of selective breeding as the two cats from which it is derived are totaly different. The Persian then: is short stocky and heavy-boned, with long fur, whereas the Siamese: is long slim, and fine-boned and with short fur!

Cat of the Month ~ October 2019
Himalayan
Himalayan ~ Eyes transfixed by ?

Photograph: © Robert and Eunice Pearcy

It was in 1924 that a swedish geneticist start the cross breed process, by crossing a Siamese, Birman and a Persian cat. These trials were not completed it seems, and, it took a jump across the pond (careful Oscar) to Harvard Medical School 1930, where two medical students crossed Siamese with Smoke, Silver Tabby and Black Persians, producing a large number of short-haired kittens. Two of these kittens were mated, resulting in the birth of the first long haired black female Himalayan. When breeding this animal with her father (look away now, Oscar!) the resulting cat was the first Himalayan, with both points and long hair.

Some registries may classify the Himalayan as a long-haired sub-breed of Siamese, or a Colourpoint sub-breed of Persian. The World Cat Federation has merged them with the Colourpoint Shorthair and Javanese into a single breed, known as the Colourpoint.

The Cat Fanciers’ Association considers the Himalayan Persian simply a colour variation of the Persian, rather than a separate breed, although they do compete at Cat Shows in their own colour divisions. It was for the colour (only) that the breed was named “Himalayan”: a reference to the coloration of Himalayan animals, and in particular the Himalayan rabbit.

A Seal Point Himalayan ~ ready for action

Photograph: © Robert and Eunice Pearcy

These cats are good natured, intelligent, and generally very social, but they have been known to be moody at times. Because of their heritage from the Siamese cats, they tend to be more active than Persians.

Himalayans are good indoor companion cats. They are gentle, calm and like most cats they are playful. Like the Siamese, most Himalayans love to stalk and chase balls of wool, mouse or fish toys and anything long and thin like string. Himalayans are devoted and dependent upon their humans for companionship and protection. They seem to really like the affection of a human and generally love to be petted and groomed.

Care for your Himalayan

If you want to bond with your Himalayan, why not spend half an hour grooming her a day/every day. She will love it if she is typical of her kind, and after all this grooming is though is essential to the wellbeing of a Himalayan.

if you’re serious about keeping a Himalayan. Because they have long, silky hair that tangles and mats easily, a Himalayan’s coat should be brushed daily. This will remove and prevent tangling and mats, and help remove any dirt and dust (after all the coat will act like a duster around your home). Professional grooming is also recommended every few months to ensure their coat is healthy and clean, but for most this may be a little expensive.

Like all cats Himalayan’s love to sharpen thier claws, and what better place than the legs of your favourite occasional table. Many advise trimming of claws but we wouldn’t advise it (would we Oscar, you like your scratching too much for that). How about finding some soft material and putting that around the legs of your precious furniture, then we will all get along just fine. (so, please for Oscars sake, leave them paws alone).

Examination of your cat weekly will uncover a multitiude of problems (well hopefully not). For example, Himalayans’ pointed ears are susceptible to capturing dirt and whatever else can fall from the sky or a hedge in your garden. This, if left undisturbed, can lead to irritation and later infection. So, if you see or find debris in your cat’s ears, use a pet ear cleaner and cotton ball to gently remove it. It is not advised to use cotton buds as the ears of all cats are so delicate and full of small capilliaries carrying blood (it can get messy and Oscar won’t thank you, no sir). If the ears are very red or inflamed, very dirty, or smell strongly, take her to the veterinarian as soon as possible, and get it checked out.

Fianlly, we’re glad to say that Himalayans are vary playful, but they will get into mischief if they become bored. So, the golden rule is – Get those cat toys out and Keep Playing. It’ll do you good too …..

Sources: Wikipedia.org, The Pictorial Encyclopedia of Cats by Britt Strader & others

Singhsth the Tiger

Cat of the Month ~ August 2019

Singhsth (aka Tiger 57)
caught on camera, sheltering in a cave in India

Photograph: © David Yarrow

After more than two hundred hours spent in the humid furnace that is the Ranthambore National Park, India, this image of the elusive tiger was finally captured.

Ranthambore Park is a wildlife sanctuary containing a huge variety of animals, birds and reptiles within it. These include Tigers, Leopards, Striped Hyenas, Sambar Deer, Hanuman Langurs, Macaques, Jackals, Jungle cats, Caracals, Common Palm Civets and Desert Cats.

The well known 4 year old ‘Singhsth’ had retreated out of the heat of the day into the cool, dark recess of a cave. Vipul Jain could just see the tiger in the cave mouth and he then passed the message on to his companion, photographer David Yarrow. Luckily the sunlight was just strong enough to light up the tigers face in the shadow of the cave…. “if it was a foot further back in the cave, there would have been no shot” recalled Mr Yarrow.

Tiger 57 image
Singhsth prowling in his usual domain

Photograph: © Amit Vyas

Credits

Image 1: David Yarrow

Image 2: Amit Vyas

Ranthambore National Park, India

Original Article is here

The good news is that, after many years of decline, the Indian Tiger census is showing rapid population growth. BBC ‘Tigers in India’ News

Judith, Mog and a Tiger

Reader, sadly we have to report the passing away of a famous and wonderful writer & Illustrator, Judith Kerr, who has died at the age of 95.

Judith created the popular children’s character Mog, the foolish and forgetful but well-meaning mottled and striped tabby cat.

Judith was also the author of the bestselling The Tiger Who Came to Tea in 1968.

British author and illustrator Judith Kerr OBE, photographed at her home in London in 2011. Rest In Peace Judith
Photograph: © Times Newspapers Ltd.
Mog
Mog The Cat
Judith Kerr drew on real life in her writing. She began the Mog series with ‘Mog The Forgetful Cat’ (1970) and went on to write 16 books in total. She drew on the developing personalities of her own young family for inspiration.
Just some of the Mog books.

Mog the Cat


Once there was a cat called Mog.

She lived with a family called Thomas.

Mog was nice but not very clever.

She didn’t understand a lot of things.

A lot of other things she forgot.

She was a very forgetful cat.