The Cemetery Cats

Homeless Cat at Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires

One of the biggest tourist draws in Buenos Aires is Recoleta Cemetery, surrounded on all sides by a high-toned urban neighborhood. Tourists go mainly to see where Evita Perón is buried (she’s buried there under her maiden name, Eva Duarte, in the Duarte family crypt. In addition to Evita, virtually everyone who was anyone was at Recoleta, including a number of former presidents, as well as numerous generals and admirals. Not buried at Recoleta is Juan Perón, who was refused admission there, buried at Chacarita Cemetery off to the south, and then, after the body was vandalized, moved to a special crypt at the Museo Histórico Quinta 17 de Octubre in the suburb of San Vicente.

Not quite so well known is that Recoleta Cemetery is full of cats. It is one of several public places in B.A. that is infested with felines, including a botanical garden in nearby Palermo. The kind-hearted Argentinians typically feed these cats, so they are not quite 100% feral. They are a bit wild, however, though they recognize their benefactors. I thought the cats wandering the concrete walkways of the Recoleta were a nice touch.

 

Belgian Cats Against Terrorism

General Bonkers Will Explain the Situation

General Bonkers Will Explain the Situation

When Brussels was placed under a terrorism alert in November, security officials requested that the public remain silent regarding ongoing counter-terrorism operations lest they alert potential targets of police raids. So how did the Belgians react? With cat pictures … hundreds of them! All relate in one way or another to the terror alert, but with a sense of humor that no one knew the Belgians had.

They Said to Stay Inside!

They Said to Stay Inside!

These are just three images for your enterrainment. For more images, I suggest you click here.

All Clear Yet?

All Clear Yet?


I wish to thank Martine for bringing these pictures to my attention.

Kit Smart and His Cat

Christopher Smart (1722-1771)

Christopher Smart (1722-1771)

Christopher Smart is one of the minor joys of 18th century English poetry. Unfortunately, he had a little mental difficulty which led to him being locked away in an asylum, mostly for his religious mania: He was known for kneeling down in the middle of a busy thoroughfare and launching into prayers.  His friend Dr. Johnson had some affection for the man and his work:

I did not think he ought to be shut up. His infirmities were not noxious to society. He insisted on people praying with him; and I’d as lief pray with Kit Smart as any one else. Another charge was, that he did not love clean linen; and I have no passion for it.

Included here is a selection from his long poem “Jubilate Agno,” which he wrote while an inmate of St. Luke’s Hospital for Lunatics. Consider it a gift to those of you who are cat lovers.

For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
For he is the servant of the Living God duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
For this is done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.
For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon his prayer.
For he rolls upon prank to work it in.
For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.
For this he performs in ten degrees.
For first he looks upon his forepaws to see if they are clean.
For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.
For thirdly he works it upon stretch with the forepaws extended.
For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.
For fifthly he washes himself.
For sixthly he rolls upon wash.
For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may not be interrupted upon the beat.
For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.
For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.
For tenthly he goes in quest of food.
For having consider’d God and himself he will consider his neighbour.
For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.
For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.
For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.
For when his day’s work is done his business more properly begins.
For he keeps the Lord’s watch in the night against the adversary.
For he counteracts the powers of darkness by his electrical skin and glaring eyes.
For he counteracts the Devil, who is death, by brisking about the life.
For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him.
For he is of the tribe of Tiger.
For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.
For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent, which in goodness he suppresses.
For he will not do destruction, if he is well-fed, neither will he spit without provocation.
For he purrs in thankfulness, when God tells him he’s a good Cat.
For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
For every house is incomplete without him and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.
For the Lord commanded Moses concerning the cats at the departure of the Children of Israel from Egypt.
For every family had one cat at least in the bag.
For the English Cats are the best in Europe.
For he is the cleanest in the use of his forepaws of any quadruped.
For the dexterity of his defence is an instance of the love of God to him exceedingly.
For he is the quickest to his mark of any creature.
For he is tenacious of his point.
For he is a mixture of gravity and waggery.
For he knows that God is his Saviour.
For there is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest.
For there is nothing brisker than his life when in motion.
For he is of the Lord’s poor and so indeed is he called by benevolence perpetually—Poor Jeoffry! poor Jeoffry! the rat has bit thy throat.
For I bless the name of the Lord Jesus that Jeoffry is better.
For the divine spirit comes about his body to sustain it in complete cat.
For his tongue is exceeding pure so that it has in purity what it wants in music.
For he is docile and can learn certain things.
For he can set up with gravity which is patience upon approbation.
For he can fetch and carry, which is patience in employment.
For he can jump over a stick which is patience upon proof positive.
For he can spraggle upon waggle at the word of command.
For he can jump from an eminence into his master’s bosom.
For he can catch the cork and toss it again.
For he is hated by the hypocrite and miser.
For the former is afraid of detection.
For the latter refuses the charge.
For he camels his back to bear the first notion of business.
For he is good to think on, if a man would express himself neatly.
For he made a great figure in Egypt for his signal services.
For he killed the Ichneumon-rat very pernicious by land.
For his ears are so acute that they sting again.
For from this proceeds the passing quickness of his attention.
For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.
For I perceived God’s light about him both wax and fire.
For the Electrical fire is the spiritual substance, which God sends from heaven to sustain the bodies both of man and beast.
For God has blessed him in the variety of his movements.
For, tho he cannot fly, he is an excellent clamberer.
For his motions upon the face of the earth are more than any other quadruped.
For he can tread to all the measures upon the music.
For he can swim for life.
For he can creep.

Of Celtic Cats and Consonants

What Do They Do With All Those Consonants?

What Do They Do With All Those Consonants?

The other day, I was browsing through Compton Mackenzie’s classic novel Whisky Galore when I ran into a passage that confused me mightily:

I remember my mother once sat down on the cat, because you’ll understand the plinds were pulled down in our house every Sabbath and she didn’t chust see where she was sitting. The cat let out a great sgiamh and I let out a huge laugh, and did my father take the skin off me next day? Man, I was sitting down on proken glass for a week afterwards. [No words have been misspelled: The novel is in Hebridean Scottish dialect]

What made me sit up is that cat cry: sgiamh. Can someone please pronounce that for me? I have never heard any creature, human or otherwise, make a sound like that; and, not being of the Celtic persuasion, I have not the slightest idea how that is sounded.

Incidentally, Mackenzie’s book was turned into a delightful film variously called Whisky Galore or Tight Little Island by Alexander Mackendrick in 1949. Starring were Basil Radford and the delightful Joan Greenwood. No cats were harmed in the making of that film, and none were coached into crying sgiamh!