Monday 7 March 2011

Cat In The Hat Book

Buy the CAT IN THE HAT book here. This is a book written for primary school children in the age range of six to seven that was created in response to a May 25, 1954 Life magazine article that was critical of school books for primary school children on reading in the United States.

William Ellsworth Spaulding (director of Houthton Mifflin's education division) invited Theodor Geisel, whose pseudonym was Dr. Seuss, to write a more effective and interesting book. The result was the Cat in the Hat book.

The commission to write the book came with what might be considered strict conditions, namely that it should be written using 225 words that children of this age range should know. Dr. Seuss actually wrote the book using 223 words that where on the list of 348 words that could be used. Dr. Seuss added 13 words that were not on the list of 348! He stuck pretty closely to the specification therefore. The limitations on vocabulary made it more difficult to write. It took nine months.

The first Cat in the Hat book appeared in 1957. The now famous cat was tall with you guessed it, a hat:

See base of post for copyright issues

I have not read the book but the story line or plot is said to be "Kafkaesque" meaning involved, complicated. Wikipedia describe it as chaotic and exuberant. The lives of a brother and sister left alone in their home on a rainy day (is that correct in a modern world?!) are brightened up by an anthropomorphic cat who turns the house into a "chaotic playground". The childrens' play is unrestricted. The story is interesting and above all it teaches reading.

The Cat in the Hat book was intially published by Random House but due to its success an independent publishing company was formed. It was called Beginner Books and Theodor Geisel was made the  president and editor.

A series of six books followed.


The picture of the cover of the book is reproduced under fair use adopting the arguments expounded by the Wikipedia authors in their article on the same subject.

Michael Avatar

From Cat in the Hat book to Home Page

Sunday 6 March 2011

Cat Health Book

Healthy tabby cat? Photo by julicath/Cath (On- Off ;-))

I am going to keep this post short because there is no doubt in my mind what the best cat health book is: Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook - click on the picture of the book to buy it (or just hold the cursor over it). It is very good value indeed

Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook, Fully Revised and Updated

Why is this the best (worldwide)?
  1. Comprehensiveness
  2. Readability
  3. Ease of reference (you can find things easily)
  4. Updated regularly
I'll press on though as there are other cat health books that I use and this is the list:
  1. Your Cat
  2. The Veterinarian's Guide to Your Cat's Symptoms
  3. Veterinary Notes For Cat Owners
    These are the "also rans" for me. It is a personal thing of course. But I think that you will probably agree that my top pick is the best. I use it all the time and willingly promote it.

    Michael Avatar

    From Cat Health Book to Home Page

    Cat Address Book

    You like cats and need an address book? Get a cat address book. This is an address book with cats on it rather than the addresses of local cats!

    The best sources are and but there are others. A simple search of Amazon will bring up lots of options.

    Some other sources are listed below - links can become broken over time please note:
    This page was written in 2011! I think all the links are broken by now. But the point is that you can find some great cat address books on Amazon (my recommendation).

    Next up is a book that I like the look of - nice stylized picture of cats on the cover: Mediterranean Cats Slim Address Book - UK market and priced at £9.99 at the time of this post.

    Next is a very colourful address book. I like this one too but it is made for females, I reckon! North American market and cost $8.99: Colourful address book for cat lovers.

    Next is an address book featuring Edward Gorey's cat illustration - really nice - UK - £5.00 - Link.

    Last but not least is a second hand cat address book! USA market and priced at $3.95 - Link

    Michael Avatar

    Wednesday 2 March 2011

    Cat Breed Information

    Hi..I am not going to repeat the comprehensive cat breed information that you can find on the main site, of which this is a subdomain.

    This short post is designed to direct you there.

    The best photographs of purebred cats together with carefully prepared facts and opinion are set out.

    The breeds are listed alphabetically and the first page is here:

    Breeds A - H. You can just follow on from this page.

    Ken and Helmi Flick's Maine Coon Cat - ZAK
    Zak a Maine Coon - Photo by Michael @ PoC

    What you will find is full descriptions of the cat breeds. There are also descriptions of much less well known breeds on this page:

    Fringe Breeds

    And also a page on the rare breeds and largest domestic cat breeds. You can't really ask for more cat breed information.

    If you want to see the cat breeds classified in a different way try this page: Different Cat Breeds.

    If you are in the process of choosing a cat breed this page might help: Choosing a cat breed.

    The most popular cat breed in the USA is probably the majestic Maine Coon. The Siamese comes a fairly close second. The Siamese cat breed has, though, been messed up by breeders. There are at least three types! There should be one, the original version. See also the Thai cat, a classic Siamese cat in my opinion, and the opinion of others.

    The Maine Coon has it all: looks and character. It is the blue chip domestic cat. It does though have one or two genetically inherited diseases to which it is susceptible - Maine Coon Cat Health.

    Michael Avatar

    From to Home Page

    Tuesday 1 March 2011

    The Cats of Morocco

    To people familiar to seeing the domestic, stray and feral cats of North America and Europe, the cats of Morocco look a bit different. I'd like to speculate why. I was drawn into this discussion with Valley Girl a work colleague of mine who not long ago visited Morocco and came back with some photos of, guess what - cats!

    I think it is fair to say that the cats of Morocco are similar to those of other North African countries. Egypt is a special case because  it is the home of the Egyptian Mau, which is still a feral cat in Egypt but a stunning purebred cat in America. Both originate in the African Wildcat.

    This post is speculative and open to criticism. There would appear to be three factors at work that cause the cats of western countries to be different to the cats of Morocco:
    1. the distance of these countries from the fertile crescent (see below), the place where the African-Asian wildcats were first domesticated;
    2. the climate of the countries where the cats live;
    3. the level of domestication in the respective countries.
    Fertile Crescent - place of origin of the domestic cat - Wikimedia commons file.

    The fertile crescent is based on the Nile and Euphrates rivers around which people settled in ancient times. See Cat History for lots more.

    Morocco is on the north-west coast of Africa. There is a direct land link to the fertile crescent about 4,000 kilometres away.

    View Larger Map

    The current non-purebred domestic cat in Morocco originates more directly from the domesticated Africa Wildcat than the domestic cats (and I am talking about the feral and moggie cats) of America and Europe.

    Lets remind ourselves that the domestic cat was imported to Great Britain and Northern Europe with the Romans and thence to America with the pilgrims in the 1600s.

    The cats of the UK had a long time to evolve in a much colder climate before founding the breeds and moggies of North America. Note: if it is not the pilgrims who colonised America who brought the ships cats with them it was the Vikings and they also came from a cold climate. Cold climates impinge on the evolution of animals. Servals at high altitude in Kenya are melanistic (black) and the Scottish wildcat is stocky, solid and a classic grey tabby cat, perfect camouflage and build for cold weather. The Siberian tiger is the largest tiger and the Sumatran tiger the smallest.

    Cats in America have evolved from cats adapted for colder climates. Cats in Morocco and north Africa have evolved in a similar climate as the original domestic cats - the connection is more direct.

    There is a compounding factor. The cats in Morocco have not been domesticated to the same extent as those in America and old Europe. Here is a photograph taken by Valley Girl of a grey spotted semi-feral cat in Morocco that looks similar to the feral Egyptian Mau:

    Essaouria gray spotted tabby - photos used with the express permission of the photographer -  copyright valleygirl_tka

    The Moroccan cats live with people but separate from the people. They live in the street, outside, in parallel with the lives of people. In America where a cat is a domestic cat, the cat is usually fully integrated into the family life. Many are full-time indoor cats. These factors impinge on their evolution of over centuries.

    Where there is greater integration into the family there is a greater refinement in the cat's appearance over time subject also to the fact that the American cat originates in a cat evolved for a colder climate.

    There is also a strong Turkish Van influence. The van pattern is quite common in the hot Mediterranean climates. Here is a Van type cat:

    Man feeding street cats, Marrakesh Morocco - Photo copyright valleygirl_tka

    How did the Turkish Van - large areas of white and splashes of colour - develop from spotted African wildcat? The Van is an ancient breed of cat. It seems to be an adaptation to its habitat. The spotted tabby pattern of the African Wildcat fits well with the woodland habitat in which it is usually found. The domestic non-purebred cat that is the Turkish Van in Turkey does not need the same coat as camouflage. The white coat reflects heat. The Van pattern has infiltrated many areas of the Mediterranean. It is suited to the climate.

    Bicolor cats that are solid and white are very common in the hotter climates it seems to me. Once again and adaptation to the hotter climate.

    Calico and solid and white cats with a black tortoiseshell it seems. "Cat herd Marrakesh souk" Photo copyright valleygirl_tka

    The conclusion is that the cats of Morocco are different to the cats of America for example because they are adapted for warmer weather, they are less domesticated and more directly linked to the original domestic cats some 9,000 years ago. One adaption that I have not mentioned is that they will on average have slightly slimmer body conformations as well, for the same reason.

    There is a last point. Valley Girl did not see a classic tabby cat, meaning a cat with the blotched tabby pattern. No wildcat has the classic tabby pattern. They all have stripes and/or spots. My gut feel is that the blotched tabby is a coat pattern created by breeders in the west. Cat breeders have always had a desire to expand and separate the cat breeds. The one purebred cat to disprove this (possibly) is the Sokoke, a supposedly discovered cat in Kenya and developed in America. This cat has the classic tabby coat.

    Michael Avatar

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