This is generated from a plaintext file,  cats.txt.


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Polly the cat shows a remarkable understanding of property relations. She brings titbits of catfood from her bowl and deposits them on the keeper's pillow as a form of tribute. She will tug and carry the end of a piece of string held by the keeper. Her attempts to pull and wrest control of the end of a piece of string shows that the cat brain can appreciate the finer points of economics. String games are models of zero sum games: the cat pulls, and the keeper follows, but the keeper could also decide to pull. The cat seems to enjoy such games. The hunting instinct is changed to something else, in theory.


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You can share our dreams for the demilitarization of space. Enrol your cat on an astronaut training course. If you have room to swing a cat then there is no problem. Please ring 0(44)7944 764312 for further details.


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Copyright Statement: Cats are telepathic creatures, either worshipped as Gods or else thought to be reincarnations of deserving humans. Hlam is the medium for this message. Hlam is sharp. Sharp claws, sharp criticism.


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Current date is Thu 11-29-2001
catnip 1 pill each
>1 vomit food
1 shit outside tray
little food
later the cats were very friendly


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Current date is Wed 12-12-2001
Barn and Hlam are cats. Hlam is smaller and more active than Barn. Barn is Hlam's brother. His mother's name is Echo. Hlam is a Thai word for 'sharp'. Hlam has sharp claws. His ears are bitten in places. Hlam's claws are coupled to a motion detector. A white string on a black background is good. A piece of string with two ends is more interesting for a cat than a closed loop.

Hlam is more interested in games than his brother. Barn is lazy. He is fatter than Hlam, and does not show the same agility in jumping on to the furniture. Barn acts like a baby and rolls on his back when he wants stroking. He likes stroking on the stomach and then he waves about his paws with the claws flexing, but he always withdraws them when moving to the owner's hand.

Hlam will claw the owner when the owner tries to straighten a carpet. This is the motion detector effect. But also the motion is at the edge of something.

The cats seem to like human affection, or love, just as much as food. They have co-evolved with humans, and have been known as companions for millenia, long before the age of radio and TV. The electrical intereaction between a stroked cat and it's human carer is undoubtedly among the first electrical phenomena known in the home. The cats must have kept alive the human hope to control electricity. Indeed early electricity was popularised by communal electroshock seances. The Leyden Jar was a good party trick in pre-TV days.

I just stroked Barn's stomach and drew a spark from his extended claws. The opened claws are in this case not necessarily hostile but they may be there to concentrate the force lines, rather like lightening conductors are designed with sharp edges. When Barn lies on his back to be stroked, and waves his paws with the claws out, then he is in fact maximising the chance of a spark.


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Fritz Leiber's book 'The Wanderer' is the classical story of smart cats. In this book an evolved species of cats control a planet size spaceship which just jumps into the solar system close to earth and causes havoc. The book deals with the possibility of love between man and cat, but the question is not resolved.

The space station may eventually have cats. Already some pet owners are willing to send their pets by plane to distant continents. Clearly the spate of 'Alien' films around show militaristic methods of vermin control rather than breeding smart cats to catch the rats. Bone loss will be a problem. Zero-G could be very terrible for cats. Somehow that was no problem for the big rats in the 'Alien' films.

Greedy capitalists are often portrayed as 'Fat Cats'. These are often cats which have doting owners that feed them all the time. Barn seems a good example of a fat cat.

There are also thin cats and feral cats which have to catch or scavenge their own food. There were many of these in Jeddah in 1982. As is often the case the feral cats often prefer human leftovers to searching and destroying rats.

Most smart cats are just entities of fiction, especially comic books and TV cartoons. In these stories the cats are obviously speaking the lines of the owner.


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Abdul Hakim came from the Bekaa valley in Lebanon. He was a guard at the SOGEX project in Jeddah, and most of his time he sat in a sentry box at the entrance of a large construction site. One morning I saw him giving a cat a saucer of milk, and I asked him what the creature was called.

"Al Bis", was the reply. Apparently Al-bis is a popular Arabic word for cat. Abdul Hakim also showed me how to write Arabic from the top down, rather than right to left. The vertical bar of the Alef becomes a simple horizontal dash.


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Stephen Rose is a professor of moleculer biology at England's Open University. Steven Rose keeps at least one cat. Steven Rose has written many polemical articles attacking 'Darwinism' and 'Evolutionary Psychology'. Neither of these things seems to have anything to do with the energy cycle in cells. In fact there is still insufficient evidence to back up all of Darwin's theories. That does not matter. The creationists, who were always the intellectual opponents of Darwin, are to be counted off with the wacky businessman that wanted to patent an inaccurate value of Pi. The creationists and businessmen thrive in a monoculture where people can be brainwashed to accept a common set of values which place great emphasis on wealth and power.

Steven Rose sides with the angels in his intellectual pursuits, so he visted Viet-Nam when it suffered American bombing. He did his best to protect the common people of Northern Ireland against the lethality of oppressive policing.

The cat is a watcher to these things. The cat may be a jealous cat, just like the old testament God, or indeed any tyrant. When there are two cats there will be mutual affection and also disputes. The same rule seems to serve for both kings and gods. Islam and Judaeism and so on go on for settling disputes between gods by claiming 'tawaheed' or unity. Yin-Yang philosophies still allow for unity through diversity.

Steven Rose's cat is totally different to Schrodinger's Cat. The latter cat is half way between life and death. Quantum coupling could make the two cats brothers. One may die, and the other may live. Action at a distance could bring the two cats together, even if they are physically seperated by light years.


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Tanith Lee is one of the most creative writers to use the English language, and she started writing at nine years old. Tanith still sticks to manuscript: no computers or other gizmos for her. Just like many professional writers her career has had its ups and downs.

Tanith Lee's cat belongs to a woman with an excellent mind. The books written when Tanith Lee was quite young remain some of the best. These were distributed in the USA before they became so popular in England. The 'Sword & Sorcery' genre had already become a niche market in America with books such as 'Dune' by Frank Herbert.

Tanith Lee jumped onto the magic carpet of feminism at an early age. Women take strong roles in most of her stories. Sex is also there, and usually with a twist. Transmogrification may take place to either to satisfy the craving for vengeance or the satisfaction of lust, and the reader may be left guessing. Prostitutes are friendly. Magic is often explained by reason, and even science.

Some of Tanith Lee's earlier fiction invented a whole pantheon of Gods and their opposites. She incorporates many old fables into entertaining stories. Her stories also include natural and man made disasters. Plague, war and famine are all grist for her mill. Another theme is the loss of knowledge. Her medieval fantasy worlds are full of artifacts like the big tunnels of Europe. Two of these have already seen conflagration, as has one of the greatest tunnels of Asia, the Salang Tunnel.


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The cats do not seem to recognise their owner. Saifon took her other two cats to Thailand, and came back here to the UK. The cats are being boarded in a council estate reminiscent of a Tanith Lee fantasy with young men being sick on the landings, and lifts that don't work. Tanith Lee has now written many stories set in England, but we can't hold that against her. She lives in the South East and is well able to observe the social changes of the greedy and thuggish Thatcher- Blair era. She therefore confronts the real difficulty that you can't write Science Fiction anymore. The dystopian scenario of Orwell's 'NINETEEN EIGHTYFOUR' was played out in Chile in the 1970s and SLORC dominated Burma of the 1990s. But Tanith Lee does not go for the end of history. She seems able to shift from gothic fantasy to heavy metal science fiction quite easily .... although the science is often only hinted at as a rather forgotten craft. This goes well with the perceived dumbing down of mass culture, although wisdom is more important than rote learning. Certainly Tanith Lee's description of whores emphasises their intellectual training: they are often tought to play chess. Cultivating an agile mind is important for women and cats.


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The cat licks tomato sauce from a plate, carefully avoiding the pilchard. The other cat licks its private parts as an act of cleaning and purification. In either case the human may see how long is the cat's tongue. The tongue of the cat is quite long when necessary. But the cat's tongue is not so useful for speaking. Cats are good at miaowing, purring, and squeaking, but their language is not a human language just yet. Cats hiss when angry, but they generally do not mix this with miaowing and purring. The aggressive body language is reserved for hissing.

A squeak is quite often part of a greeting of the cat to its carer. Echo and Hlam both do this. Barn prefers a very quiet sort of miaow.


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Dr Mark Westhusin succeeded in cloning a cat at Texas A&M University. The kitten was born by caesarian section just before Christmas 2001, but the cloning experiment was only announced in February 2002. The kitten took the front page of many of the World's newspapers. The little cat is called 'Carbon Copy'. She has been cloned from a female tortoise shell type, and the egg cell was implanted into a surrogate mother. There were at least at least 200 attempts to create clone, including the selection of cells from the mouths of male cats. Of these 87 matured enough to be implanted in surrogate mothers and only two pregnencies were established.

CC does not look like her mother; a cat's distinctive pattern is determined to a large extent by environmental factors as the infant develops in the womb.

Animal welfare groups are not enthusiastic. The commercial organisation sponsoring the experiments is called 'Genetic Savings & Clone', and it claims ownership to the technique, after investing millions of dollars into the research. On the same day that CC was born at least 6000 unwanted cats were put down in the USA alone.

CC was born just before Christmas 2001, but the announcement was only made seven weeks later, in February, when it appeared that the kitten was thriving. The pictures in the newspapers made welcome relief from the usual misrable stories about war and famine.



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A cat sits on a carpet and meditates. The cat attempts to teach its owner insight. When the ears are pointed upwards, then concentration of thoughts are present. The cat has a very small brain, although some say that it is large in proportion to the total animal. Whatever the truth, it is hard to look at an alert waiting cat without thinking that the cat wants to teach us something.


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There is a Russian expert on cats called Kuchlachev. He is a cat whisperer, and he has trained cats to do tricks in front of an audience. This was shown on the BBC on 3 March, 2002. The cat's tricks were mainly natural leaping and balancing acts of cats, but contrived to be done in public. Barn and Hlam are rather too shy for this at the moment, but there are clear future possibilities.


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Tracy Emin is a British artist. She is famous for exhibiting a used bed in an art gallery. The bed had cigarette ash and used condoms on it but no cat shit, to my knowledge. In March 2002, Tracy Emin lost her cat. The cat's name is Docket. The loss reached radio and the newspapers. BBC's news quiz mentioned the item, as did the Guardian. Unfortunately neither story says whether the cat has been reunited with the owner. What did happen is that some posters advertising the loss of the cat got picked up by people who thought the art work would become a commodity.

The media stories made fun of the affair, with remarks about the other famous British artist Damian Hirst whose speciality is exhibiting sections of dead animals. The speculation is whether Docket will end up in the hands of Mr Hirst.

There is much urban myth about missing cats. In working class areas of Britain there are racial slurs made about the cuisine of immigrants, or perhaps stories of traffikers roaming the streets to provide cats for vivisectionist laboratories.

The truth is that traffic kills cats. Cats may have nine lives, but increased traffic can use them up very quickly. Other urban hazards may be around. Used syringes from junkies are now a common feature of the UK urban environment. England has had one of the most repressive anti-drugs legislation on the books with twenty five year sentences for smugglers but still there are used syringes in the parks and pathways of urban Britain. These must be terrible hazards to cats and dogs, and yet the legislators do nothing about it. In England they go on about fox hunting instead of the more serious issues of mechanical beasts driving down and crushing cats, or even the syringe problem.

The Christians may talk about the crucifixion of Christ the Son of God, but there are tens of thousands who each day seek voluntary crucifixion with hypodermic needles, rather than nails. The junky will hunt veins and eventually get the injuries of crucifixion. The junky becomes the twenty first century son of God. Nietzche was wrong! God is not dead, but the father of a junkie.

The cats live in 'Junkie Land'. Drugs problems are always supposed to exacerbate problems in poverty striken urban housing schemes. The problems include vandalism, and abandoned vehicles. It is not uncommon to see cars blazing after they have been set alight by joyriders. In some parts of Yorkshire members of the public may even attack firefighters with missiles once they are called to put out a fire. When the two cats look over the balcony they can see two burnt out wrecks of cars stuck on a former basket ball area. The lifts on the estate work for the most part, but there are people who use the lifts as urinals. One has to ask whether it is a civilised place for the cats.

12 October 2002
Tracy Emin was invited to edit the Weekend Guardian. Docket wrote the story on the pet page, describing his adventures. Apparently the cat got trapped in a derelict house, and survived for six days by drinking water from the toilet bowl. Eventually Docket's miaows alerted the keeper who happend to be passing close by.

Tracy Emin is to be congratulated on sharing this happy story with her public. The first person singular is quite adaptable to cat stories. There have even been web postings describing a cat's last visit to the vet in this style. Apparently Docket gets chicken and ham to eat.


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38 Chromosomes, according to some counts.. That's more than human. The count of human chromosomes is lower because chromosomes are supposed to have merged in the past.


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Everyone knows that Hitler had a dog called Blondi. Hitler liked dogs, and apparently Mussolini was more partial to cats. Stories like this feature much in modern animal lore. When it comes to dogs the terms Junkyard Dog, and Reservoir Dog refer to the sort of dogs that jealously guard private property, and the descendents of these dogs which become feral dogs running around the margins of big and expensive construction projects. Dogs may be used to project the owner's power and anger, but felines have gone out of fashion for this since the days when the Romans are supposed to have thrown Christians into the arena to be devoured by lions.

Nowadays no one uses a cat to project anger and power. In fact the most famous lion in recent news was Marjam the Lion, of Kabul Zoo. During the civil war in Afghanistan Marjam himself became the victim of a hand grenade attack. Despite horrible injuries the lion lingered on in captivity until the Afghan capital changed hands in the fall of 2001. He died shortly afterwards.

Cats can get eaten. When domestic cats get eaten by other cats then there is clearly a moral problem. The keeper realises that there is no compromise solution. One country where the people faced this problem is Israel. There was a kibbutz where the people objected to their cats being eaten by leopards. They could have decided to keep the cats indoors like many Americans and other city dwellers, but instead the kibbutzniks insisted on the leopards being confined to a zoo on the coast. In fact some humans are jealous of the big cats and won't leave them alone. Predatory behaviour is much more often a case of human attack rather than cat attack. Cats will eat animals, birds and fish.

Fascist regimes can be very bad for cats. Accompanying famine increases food competition and also makes it tempting for humans to eat cats. It's also not good for people to divide their loyalties, according to many fascistic doctrines. There is the odd chance someone will revere a pet cat more than the dear leader, or father of the nation. There is no cat in Famille, Patrie, Travail, the slogans of French fascism. Of course these may all make good names for individual cats. Did anyone call their cats Hitler and Stalin?

In April 2002 Jean Marie Le Pen came second in the first round of the French presidential election. Lionel Jospin, one of the earlier favourites, took only the third place. This means that France has just a choice of two right wingers for the presidential elections, and one of them has a reputation for corruption which would appear like a story of mediaeval family empires were it not for the airline tickets. There is no way that any sensible person can say that this is a victory for democracy.

French students and school children have already gone out into the streets to fight the riot police. Many of them must be ashamed of the way that many older people voted. The pundits say it's the losers in globalisation that go out and vote fascist. Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy and The Netherlands all have neo-fascist parties. All of these parties show intolerance to non European immigrants, and they tend to promise more detentions centers and departations. In this they are following the lead taken by the recent Australian government, and the authorities in Hong Kong who have run detention centers since the 1970s.

Just as in the 1930s, modern fascist parties get the votes of the unemployed and the pressurised small business community. In the UK some of the most right wing people are farmers and 'country side' people who want to keep alive the sport of hunting with hounds. In reality these people may be on the fringes of green fascism where society can become controlled to a sufficient degree for the ruling class to engage in manhunts, just like the mediaeval knights.

Modern football matches offer examples of this when the crowds get out of control. Many police forces employ horsemen and women along with dogs to control the crowds. It seems obvious from some TV pictures of football riots that the alsations really love the excuse to run around and chase hooligans.

The police also have started to employ far more small dogs in modern times. These are the sniffer dogs whose task it is to spot drug smugglers, or to sniff around containers in warehouses and freight terminals looking for illicit human cargo, or drugs, or possibly explosives.

This modern use of dogs is best illustrated by a short anecdote.


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A man got onto an aeroplane with a small dog, and for some reason the cabin crew did not object. The man and his dog shared a seat at the back of the plane with a curious passenger.

After the plane took off the owner unleashed the dog and let it walk down the aisle sniffing the passengers and their luggage. After a while the dog stopped at a particular passenger, then came back and put its left paw on the owner's knee.

"What is going on" said the man sitting next to the dog's keeper.
"I work for the Drug Enforcement Agency", said the dog's owner.
"His left paw means marijuana. I will note the man's seat number and boarding card details, and he will get a thorough going over on landing. Now I will send the dog out again".

The dog moved into the cabin again, and after sniffing a few more passengers came back and put it's right paw on the owners knee.

"That's a good bust. The right paw means heroin or cocaine. I will note the passengers seat number, and the authorities at the airport will know what do do. We can try once more".

With that the dog went back to it's task and then it suddenly ran back to it's owner, jumped onto his lap, and defecated.

"what's that. The dog's shit on your pants."
"Yes, one of the passengers is carrying a bomb" said the dog owner.


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Booby the cat died within six months of being flown out to Thailand. Booby's owner is very unhappy, because she did not really want to part with the cats.

Travelling is always a strain, and Booby never really seemed to recover from the long journey. The climate change was extremely stressful. Bangkok seems stiflingly hot compared with London, and air conditioning is still not so common in middle class homes.

The environmental pollution in Bangkok is far beyond anything experienced in Northern Europe, and there are many sick animals on the streets of the Thai capital. Asthma hits the human population hard. The heavy traffic makes life very dangerous for free roaming cats.

Booby was very shy in his new abode, and never regained his confidence after the flight. Within days of his arrival in Bangkok it became clear that he was in trouble. Later visits to the vet confirmed kidney problems: always a danger for pet cats.

John Hayes has written about Bangkok in The Guardian (27.08.02). He left the city because the pollution was bad for his children.


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The modern Saudi city of Taif has traffic schemes including concrete canyons for cars rather like the Boulevard Peripherique in Paris. During my only visit to the place I cannot forget a feeling of horror as I became aware of an injured creature crawling about in the murdrous traffic. It was only a fleeting moment as I was travelling quite fast, but the sense of helplessness remains. The road was a dual carriageway in a cutting, with steep walls on either side, so it seemed quite likely the cat would die. It's sure that I felt more sympathy for that cat than for the hundreds of humans killed on Saudi roads. The trouble with Saudi is that the authorities have the reputation of locking up the wrong people when it comes to traffic accidents: the owners of parked cars are jailed while drunken Saudi drivers are proclaimed innocent.


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On the morning of May 19, 2002, I was awakened by frantic activity going on around the edges of the room. Hlam was having a great time chasing a live pigeon around my room. There was a go board with some stones on it, where I had been studying a position the previous night. TALIBAN had just lost to feetball. Hlam loves feetball with the plastic rattling balls that I bought him. None of that stuff in the centre of the room was disturbed. The pigeon was hiding under the desk where the computer screen is situated.

The pigeon tried fluttering and eventually got airborne and managed to cross the kitchen and fly out of the door. In all the bird sucessfully navigated three doors to escape, despite being brutalised by Hlam. Barn and myself were mere spectators to the scene. We don't know how Hlam brought the pigeon into the room. It saved me the job of disposing of the body.

In fact there are plenty of pigeons here. Some tenants keep pigeons, because it's an old working class hobby in these parts. People used to breed pigeons and set them up in competitive races. The hobby of pigeon racing could have been a spin off from neneteenth century military communications. Carrier pigeons were once important, before the days of radio. The ability of pigeons to navigate is still imperfectly understood today despite great advances in communications science.

Because the cats are living eight floors up they are in the zone of birds. There are high winds, but because I am paying a flat rate for heating I can have all the doors open and still be warm. This means that I can let the cats have access to the balcony during the night. They can guard the plants against intrudors.

There are a couple of pigeon feathers on the carpet to remind me that the incident actually happened. It's no real surprise the animal escaped. I have seen that Hlam and Barn will often sit and watch rather than attack a rat or a mouse.


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Internet stalking may be a topic of conversation for the chattering classes, but stalking behaviour can be boring. The cat pays attention for a long time before getting accustomed to the background. The cat can then detect motion, and pounce.

The motion is the motion of just a few pixels. There may also be a sound cue, and the type of object is known by its smell. The cat can detect whether it's hunting prey, or perhaps a mate, or maybe it's something to be feared.

Get motion detection to be coordinate independent. It's just first differentials you are looking for, and in fact our real space is just obtained by integration. The first and most visible things are movements, and this is just what are the variables in Langrangian and Hamiltonian varients of the energy equations.

Essentially the movement the predator seeks is a vortex. This is perhaps a counterflow in some other rotating background. Angular velocity is scanned for. There is no image until absolutely necessary.

There is also the fact that a radius of curvature depends on second differentials. Swirling motion and local rotations must reflect acceleration rather than mere velocity. In animals it is the ear that can best detect important movements like this.


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After keeping the cats for several months there are changes in our relationship. Hlam is most greedy for attention because Barn is the top cat. It begun several months ago when Hlam sat on top of a box containing old copies of the Scientific American. I encouraged Hlam to nest there because I thought it might make him a clever cat. Hlam enjoyed curling up on top of this box for a couple of months or so while Barn remained sat in the shelves of the TV stand.

By the beginning of Spring, Barn started to sit in Hlam's box. In fact Barn has lost a little weight, and he is now quite interested in the games with string. Hlam remains the lightest and most agile cat, so he can always get attention by sitting between me and the computer screen. Hlam knows that I will then go to the fridge and get out a slice of ham to feed him, so that I can go back to the computer. When feeding Hlam I always give Barn the chance to eat a little, but Barn is always more patient.

Barn is the 'Top Cat'. Barn made this bid to be top cat about three weeks after he arrived here last year. I always remember the emotion of that time because Barn actually walked around a lttle on two legs just to show that he could do that if he wanted. He has never done that since then, because he had won my heart, although I did not know it at the time, since my first love had been for Hlam.

Barn seems more polite. Some observers might say than Barn behaves more like a faithful dog, rather than a cat. Barn is certainly like his keeper in one respect: both have rotting teeth. When Barn yawns it is distinctly obvious that he has lost the long teeth on one side of the mouth, and the teeth on the other side are dirty. Much of the dirt is probably the result of passive smoking. Both of the cats have been exposed to high levels of joss stick and cigarette smoke for nearly a decade. The death of Booby in Bangkok adds to my concern about pollution there, because I remember the stifling atmosphere of the place.

Barn seems ready to take things easy and accept life, but he is very friendly about it. Hlam is always craving for more, and so he seems more 'on edge'. When I lie down with Barn and tickle his chest, then Hlam always seems to want to come and sit down between Barn and myself. Hlam is jealous of both Barn and the computer. Sometimes Hlam and Barn will have fights. Once or twice they seem to scratch at each other, and I always hope they don't get hurt. In the past Hlam has run up medical bills by attacking Booby. In fact some of the chasing behaviour is good excercise and when they charge through the kitchen they split levels with Hlam jumping onto the table and avoiding the Olivetti laptop in the race to the chair beside the litter tray. It is surprising that they hardly ever knock over the lamp on the table.

Hlam is very adept at jumping onto a table full of clutter without disturbing anything. He manages to do this when the table is above eye level. He seems able to react in mid air as he makes his landing. I can imagine that as I am writing this there will be the cats of rich people muzzling around tables with expensive ornaments, some of them undoubtedly the plundered antiquities (and fake antiquities) of almost forgotten civilisations. The damage done to these artifacts by cats is likely to be very low.

Cats have adapted to survive with some humans it seems. The question of cat allergy makes the adaptation less than 100%: there will always be some who cannot easily love cats. That could afford some protection to keepers of cats. Those people frightened off by the allergy may be bothersome people.

Barn and Hlam are both very shy with humans, rather like their keeper. Whenever guests arrive, and that is not often, then they go and hide under the television. They remain motionless until perhaps one of them detects a chance to move unseen to a hiding place in the kitchen. Hlam will occassionally walk out with great caution, but generally the cats are not friendly to strangers.

Despite the behaviour of the two cats described here it is obvious that the cats do have a 'friendly gene'. Urban life has been around for hundreds of years, but never more than now. The cats of Nada Village in Jeddah are one example of a cat population explosion. While people are starving in Africa and Afghanistan, the rich Gulf States have become a sort of 'cat paradise' for some, and perhaps a 'cat hell' for others.


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The first two days of July saw in the British queen's Golden Jubilee. As a result there was no garbage collection on Tuesday. On Thursday morning I went up the stairs towards the door to add another bin bag from the kitchen to the larger black sack containing two other bags. On opening the black bag I noticed a couple of maggots but thought little of it until I looked closer and observed that there seemed to be dozens of the little creatures writhing around.

In fact I was not particularly surprised. The business of leaving meat in open plates for the cats gives flies the chance to lay eggs. The end of May had been rather warm and sunny, and there had been plenty of flies in the kitchen.

In Bangkok the local people say that mosquitoes generally do not bother people living in high rise buildings. British vermin are more persistent: ordinary house flies seem to go up to any height. Beetles and cockroaches are also prevalent in older buildings. When I had lived in Bayswater the whole block seemed infested with cockroaches to such an extent that I informed the Westminster City Council. Later on I was threatened with eviction from that building and left.

Mosquitoes fly low but carrion eating flies seem less deterred by heights. The carrion eating flies and bluebottles are features of English country life. Some plants repel insects, and their extracts have been economically important at least since the invention of modern capitalism around 1600 AD. Garlic and onion were known for hundreds of years, but more exotic tropical spices could be obtained large quantities once the Dutch had opened up sea routes to the Moluccas.

The use of modern insecticides has its place in life, but my own personal experience is that the stuff you get in ordinary shops is very weak, and many insects have built up such a resistance that they thrive on the stuff.

Ants also infest high rise buildings, but they seem relatively harmless. I certainly remember the trails of ants on the third floor of the prestigious Prapawit Building where I worked for Sahaviriya Infortech Computers in Bangkok. The Prapawit Building housed a bank and the Korean embassy, but it was still infested with ants. There were well marked routes from one floor to the next, and we could sit down and watch the ants when not inspired to program the computers.

In Bangkok many of the buildings were inhabited by house lizards which would eat any spare insect life. Spiders are quite good at this, but it is not easy to encourage them to breed in high rise buildings.

Rubbish disposal is a problem. In Bangkok this must have been done by servants, but I was not really aware of them so much in the Prapawit Building. Insect infestation was dealt with by large firms such as Rentokil. These corporate giants will act as exterminators anywhere where people will pay money for their services, and despite the miserable attitude of the bosses these companies do make more money with increasing prosperity: people throw away more food (because the insects did not consume it before it was ready for the table) and carniverous maggots thrive in the city.

The relative population levels of humans, meat animals, pets and insects are economically important and estimates are made by those who monitor global warming. Humans have co-evolved with these satellite species. For the last hundred years the human has had weapons unseen before: hydrocarbons to spray puddles and breeding pools, poisonous insecticides, and irradiation to probe the genes of insects.

Irradiation studies on the non-carniverous fruit fly attracted the attention of practical geneticists in the 1950s soon after atomic weapons had been developed. School children were able to read of many post nuclear war scenarios in comics of the time: the survivors would be chased around by giant rats and mutated man eating insects.

Ordinary wars can see increases in associated species. Increasing poverty is good for parasites. Rats and cockroaches are associated with poverty, ignorance and disease, but some people will say that rats can be very clean. These will be pet rats kept by rich young people. It's only in the slums where there are rats. I was bitten by a rat when living in Soi Cham Chan in Bangkok, and I wanted to move to a less infested place. There were not enough cats living in the slum, and worse still those cats that lived there seemed to quickly succumb to disease. The monks would care for these cats, but life was difficult.


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The Intifada which started in the fall of 2000 after Sharon's bodyguards went on a shooting spree in the Al-Aqsa mosques has turned Israel / Palestine into one of the World's key conflict zones. Most of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank have been reduced to near destitution. These are hardly favourable circumstances for cats.

Mahmoud Darwish, the Poet of Palestine, has been living in Ramallah since the mid 1990s when the Israelis allowed him to return from exile. Conditions are not good: Mahmoud Darwish opposed the original Oslo Peace Accords because he thought, quite correctly as things turned out, that the Oslo process was flawed to such an extent that there would be an increase in violence. Mahmoud Darwish is no extremist, but he was forced to take a position similar to the rejectionists of Hamas and Hizbollah.

Hardline muslims are not so keen on supporting secular poets. Many of them appear to think that such poetry is an implicit criticism of the Koran. It's not necessary to read much of the work of Mahmoud Darwish to see that he is not in favour of brainwashing. Mahmoud writes of martyrdom in the context of the World with the rain, the rivers, the birds and the butterflies. It is the right of people to turn their backs to oppression and walk undisturbed, but this right is being denied to many. Mahmoud Darwish speaks out for all of the oppressed.

During the Isreali invasion of April, 2002, Mahmoud Darwish did not have so much to reassure him. The Israelis were destroying much of the infrastructure of the Palestinian towns and villages. At the age of sixty his health is not so good as it was. In an interview for the Guardian Mahmoud Darwish said "my lust for life is less. I try to enjoy every minute, but in very simple ways: to have a good glass of wine with friends, to enjoy landscape, to watch cats. I love all the cats in the neighbourhood. I listen better. I used to speak, but I became wise."

There is also a story of a suicide bomber who had regretted running over four cats during his work as a taxi driver. Roads with long periods of inactivity will become attractive to cats, especially if they wish to feed on other animals which may have been killed by the traffic.

Israel Shamir writes about the stray cats of Jaffa, Mr Shamir runs a webzine which I get, and he calls for the togetherness net. Because I didn't go through the hassle of downloading MS Windows Arabic extensions I end up reading the English and therefore Isreaili Non-Zionist pundits about the Middle East. It's Barry Rubin and Rabbi Michael Lerner that get my attention these days. I feel guilty going to Palestine Support Group meetings and yet getting most of my web based stuff from Jews.

Isreal Shamir writes at great length, and he wrote an article congratulating the French on voting for Monsieur Le Pen. This shows that Mr Shamir is politically suspect, but he still praises the Miaow that he and other residents of Jaffa share with their city.

The feline residents of Jaffa may share nothing of the political views of the humans, and they certainly don't go in for suicide bombing. Israelis may have the luxury to sit in their houses and not go out except to but catfood and minimise the risk of being suicide bombed.

Palestinians have not got the choice: the curfew must mean that the cats are miowing, and the keeper will have to brave rockets from Israeli helicopter gunships, or possibly heavy machine gun fire from Israeli tanks and armoured area demolition vehicles, or even ordinary light machine gun fire and sniping from Isreali conscripts based in the local school or medical center.

Getting cat food under curfew sounds quite lethal.


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One night I put a cannabis plant, growing in an yoghurt container, on my bedside table. Because I often fall asleep drunk and leave the light on, I thought the extra light might boost the growth of the plant. In fact I should really have more plants, but getting the seeds to germinate and continue growing is much harder than I thought. Only one in five seeds actually will keep on growing. Now I have two plants growing well, and a third plant which shares a pot with the larger.

I awoke to commotion on the bedside shelf. Hlam was nibbling away at some of the leaves, but not all that much really. I quickly chased him off, but I felt proud that he had shown such good taste. The leaves undoubtedly contain useful oils, and maybe I could get a licence to sell cannabis as a catfood supplement.


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There is an internet newsgroup about cats. It's a high volume group with many mind boggling stories about the quirky behaviour of other people's cats. There are also words of sound advice: cars are more dangerous than houseplants, for example, and advice against de-clawing surgery.

Cat medical problems feature as well as issues about shared litter trays and cat's access to kitchen and cooking surfaces. Many people seem to have advice about cats upsetting cups for example: but how many of them offered wine or coffee to their cats ? Most cats don't want that.

Biting and scratching are dealt with in the newsgroup as well as defecation and urinating. The latter is particularly important. Kidney and urinary tract problems are leading causes of death amongst older male cats. The writing is on the wall for the human males.

The cat is going to die, so it's guardian must make even sickness and death a pleasurable experience for the little beast, if possible. If the cat is allowed out of doors then there are two main dangers: unfriendly humans and motor cars. Both will cause anguish.

Like many internet newsgroups there are many messages that appear to be nothing but point scoring. Cat aggression seems translated to human aggression. This is not always surprising. There are quotes from newspapers of horrific instances of deliberate cruelty to cats. It's easy to accuse cat lovers of putting the rights of their pets above the rights of humans, and many of these accusations are true: the American cat food budget could feed many of the world's hungry people. Japan and the European Union could double that amount.


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A spell of cloudy weather with rain, followed by warming up has brought more intense insect activity. During a walk to the West of Sheffield I found midges made it impossible to enjoy sitting by the Redmires reservoir or even in the garden of a the Three Merry Lads, a pub near the former fever hospital at Lodge Moor.

The cats' guardian sprayed the kitchen with insecticide. Permethrin and synthesised pyrethrins. This insecticide is supposed to be relatively non toxic to mammals, but the instructions on the aerosol advise against spraying the stuff on food or cooking utensils.

The next step is the cultivation of the Chrysanthemum plant. These plants contain pyrethrins which are insect repellants. Pyrethrins work well on the local bugs. Another cat owner in Sheffield also testifies to the insect deterrent efficacy of chrysthanthemums, when these are kept as house plants.


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There is no cat but cat and cat is the messenger of cat.
Play five times a day.
Accomodate irregular meal times with fasting.
Go round the scratching pole.
Be generous to the prey.
The guardian waves a piece of string and the cats pretend to attack the end. When both the guardian and the cat are tired this becomes more a ritual than a serious game. When two cats are involved as well as the guardian then this ritual involves cooperation in mind and body.

Early human religion is supposed to have been about getting good results in hunting. Maybe eating the brains of parents, enemies or certain animals was considered power giving. Human religion is still full of the tradition of animal sacrifice, and then later the renunciation of this.


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Nearly all books on cats mention that humans have had no success in controlling cat breeds. Wild mating has lead to the cat shape remaining pretty much the same throughout the world. There are few fancy breeds.

Most expensively kept cats are spayed or neutered nowadays.
Despite the loss of their sexual organs some cats still like being stroked on the stomach. Some cats appear to get spasms of pleasure from this and as it happens Barn shows such behaviour. When this happens he sometimes likes to stretch at full length, and also rapidly extend his claws. This is a reflex action, and the guardian should pay care. Barn, the soft cat, drew blood from the side of his guardian's foot during one such petting episode.

During a spell in Jeddah the cats' guardian invited cats into his house. He actually saw two of them starting to make love, but at this time he was not so interested in cats, and shooed them away to do what they wanted to do in private. He did notice that the male had actually started the activity by grabbing some fur on the back of the female's head in his mouth so as to get a hold.


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Hlam finished off the growing top of a cannabis plant. This happened while I was sleeping. The plant had taken about three weeks to grow.


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Barn and Hlam are both neutered males, and as a result they tend to put on weight. This contrasts with two female cats I visited recently: Tabetha and Sensei. Tabetha and Sensei have different keepers but both are of similar colour: a sort of mottled brown and grey. Sensie appears to have blackish stockings in the same way that Barn appears to have white socks.

Tabetha and Sensei are both much smaller cats than Hlam and Barn. Tabetha mostly gets dry catfood, while Sensei gets quite a bit of Marks & Spencer cat tuna from tins. Sensei's owner also gives the cat some left over human food in the form of rice and vegetable curry.

Apparently Sensei has been trained to act to the word 'Space'. She will react to that word and sit down, looking forward, with her head resting on her paws. This is similar to the pose often adopted by Hlam. Sensei, just like Hlam, loves to be stroked at the base of the spine. In fact Sensei's keeper strokes her with the rough sand paper side of a large box of matches, and Sensei loves this. She also likes to be stroked on the stomach. Sensei has been out of doors many times, and she has lived in several houses. Sensie is also a mother cat. She had kittens while still very young herself, before she was taken to the vet.


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Old women feed cats in this famous cemetary during my stay in Paris during 1978-80. The cemetary provided a welcome escape from the respective madhouses of G.A.I. and Cabinet Derieux, not to mention the flat of Andre Leroi Gourhan.


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Hlam enjoys hunting flying insects. Sometimes he catches and eats one of these. Obviously if the insects are flying around they are not affected by insecticides, so the food may be reasonably safe.


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Just like the Rorschach Inkblot test, so the different parts of the edge of Mandelbrot sets can be imagined to look like cat's faces. The bits that stick out could be rationalised as ears and whiskers. The Mandelbrot set is certainly hairy.

The Mandelbrot set is defined as the set of complex numbers such that the set {c, c+c^2, c+(c+c^2)^2, ...} is bounded. Here each term of the sequence is defined in terms of its predecessor: Z[0] = 0 and z[n+1] = c + z[n]^2. The colour graphic images generated from the Mandelbrot set (aka Gingerbread Man) are generally colourings of the complement of the Mandelbrot set, with the colour representing the amount of computation (work) necessary to establish that a given point is _not_ in the Mandelbrot set.

Cat's faces are better seen where the iteration rule is changed slightly: Z[n+1] = c + z[n]^p where p is an exponent greater than two.

p = 3 Double Mandelbrot set
p = 4 Triangular shape
p = 5 Square shape
p = 6 Pentagonal shape.
The interest in Mandelbrot sets is confined to the edges of these sets. Because the edges are deeply convoluted it is possible to examine the edge with ever closer magnification and see similar results, although there will always be points which can never be mapped with computer technology.


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When cats and keepers are in groups then various relationships may be charted. Behavioural scientists have for long attempted to explain these relationships via various diagrams.

Frank Plumpton Ramsey proved theorems on just how many different types of social groupings could be found in sufficiently large populations. Just like Kurt Godel and Alan Turing, Frank Ramsey was motivated by meta-theories, or theorems about theorems. All of these three men were excellent hunters in their youth: hunters for the solutions of challenging problems.


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Carole Klein describes these in her biography of the writer. Pictures appear in the biography. It seems Doris Lessing thinks it suitable to let the cats have a basket as a form of space. These photos were probably taken before the invention of cat igloos and suchlike.

Doris (nee Taylor) was underfed as a small child in Kermanshah, but when her parents moved to Teheren, the child, aged three, forced her family to adopt a cat. The child then shared her bed with the cat for the next two years. When the family left Teheran to return to England, via Russia, the cat was left behind.

After spending the rest of her childhood in Africa, Doris Lessing returned to London where she again started to keep cats.

Doris is willing to consign much intellectual junk to the bonfire. She has obviously experienced the jealousy of the cat to the word machine. When the cat is not getting enough attention it will sit between the writer and the keyboard, or better still make its bed on the manuscript. A bit of tearing and chewing will not go amiss, and this will probably aid revision and editing more than human attentions.

Doris Lessing had three children before getting her fallopean tubes tied. She did voluntarily what many cat owners force on their cats. I never read her book 'The Grass is Singing', and I am not tempted to do so. The exigesis of the book is enough of a story in its own right. The mother cat was content to crouch and watch, and return to this piece of string over several years. She hunted literary fame with a single minded focus very apt to the feline species.


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Mouse really means rat. Specialists of behavioural science study rats running mazes, or, more recently, mice swimming in milk. People have tried to isolate learning or intelligence genes with the aid of experiments of this type. The only possible cruelty of these experiments is mental cruelty, but we don't really know if rats and mice have a mentality like us.

Skinner was the behaviourist scientist associated with rat experiments. Skinner's doctrines are regarded as pernicious in some circles. He tried to reduce all of human experience to simple stimulus response models. This type of determinism offended many.

When a cat crouches on its haunches and watches, ready to pounce, we observe a form of concentration. Cats have much to teach many humans, especially those who a regarded as requiring life long medication. ADS and HAS aka Attention Deficit Syndrome, or Hyper Activity Syndrome are diseases which are supposed to afflict modern youth. The medical establishment prescribes Ritalin.

The waiting cat is able to concentrate. Because the cat may have to sit for a long time, before actually jumping and seizing the prey, there is some energy conservation mechanism. The cat has the potential to change from a serenely sitting beast to a three dimensional probability distribution of teeth and claws.

Concentration is the key to human martial arts. A predator will concentrate on its prey, because the prey is feeding time. The predator lets the prey addapt to the environment as regards vegetable food, but the predator does not need to adapt so quickly. As long as the prey species adapts enough to survive, the predator does not need to evolve. The predator can afford to be lazy.

A polar bear is more like a grizzley bear than a caribou is like a walrus. Both types of bear can catch fish.

Ball games are imitation of a predator chasing prey. This accounts for their popularity.


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Saifon and Kaplan came up from London to take the cats. Barn went first, and then Hlam. There is another cat in London, which Saifon has adopted. This cat is called Willow, and she is a long haired cat, coloured black and white. Although Willow has Persian cat ancestry she does not particularly like being combed.

Losing the cats makes this a sad day for me. It's like the loss of close members of the family.


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5 Oct 2002.
Polly Anne has arrived. She has said nothing since she arrived in this flat. She has found a place to hide behind the refridgerator. This is a very secure place for her, since it is hard for a human to reach. As I write this, I do not know how she will adapt. She is shy. There are now constant bangs around here in the run up to November 5.

Remember, remember
The fifth of November
Gunpowder, Treason and Plot.
In multi-cultural England we have other reasons for fireworks. The Hindu festival of Devali is about this time, and the local muslims seem keen enough to celebrate 'The Night Journey', and the Eids with fireworks.

The reason I acquired Polly can be put down to the factor of family growth. The keepers, Taslima & Ad-Dargham, had had another baby, and Polly had found herself more and more socially excluded in that family.

I had got out of bed late today, and done the usual morning ritual of watering the plants and getting a coffee and a joint. The main item was to pay off my credit card by sending a pound to the recoveries section of the lender. This meant a journey to the bank, and I could stop on the way and look at an advertising magazine.

Normally I don't want to pay for things like that. Reading the periodical in store is a form of shop lifting, but if I pay for a hefty Saturday Guardian in the same store, then I feel entitled to go and read other periodicals from the same news stand. I chose a department store, and just put the Guardian in the basket, then camped on the floor to mine the local advertising magazine. This meant finding the pets page, and the first cat advert, amongst rather more dogs, drew the reader's attention to Tabby. The first letter was 'T'. The most important cat letters seem to be 'K' for kittens, and 'P' for persian.

I definitely preferred the idea of an older cat to kittens for several reasons. Mainly I do not want the cat to jump out over the balcony and fall ten floors onto concrete. The Tabby was advertised as four years old, and answering to the name of Polly. This meant that the cat had not thrown itself off a balcony, nor got into a fatal vehicle accident. The cat had already shown survival traits. The name and phone number got written down. I went to the tobacconist check out to pay for my purchases and then went off to the bank, then returned home. I quickly rang the number given in the advert, and I must be thankful that my eyes are still good enough to allow me to read small adverts unaided by glasses.

The telephone was answered by a woman who seemed quite willing to discuss the cat. I first enquired how many people had answered the advert, and she said that I was number one. Next she explained the new addition to the family and also that Polly was a scratchy cat. This seems quite normal for any cat, so I thought it was OK, since Taslima just wants a quiet home for Polly, and that is all. No money was asked for.

The people lived on a housing estate to the South of the city so I mentioned that I would have to use public transport, and could not be precise about when I would get there. After a cup of coffee I packed a ruksack and readied the cat cage. Taslima had told me which buses to try, and I took the map. I also phoned Dawud, a car owning friend of mine and told him of the project. It was an auspicious day because he answered the call. Quite of Dawud is asleep, or very apathetic during the day. Like me he often stays up all night.

I felt rather a fool walking around with a cage and a ruksack, but that is normal on any first experience. In the end I found the right bus, and used the cage as a seat while waiting.

Taslima's house is a second floor maisonette. The wonder of mobile phones is appreciated on such visits. It's possible to arrive at the street and get talked into the house or flat without having to search through lots of numbers.

Taslima introduced me to Polly who seemed friendly. At least Polly let me touch her, and that's more than I achieved with Barn over five years.

I chatted with Taslima over practical issues. What food does the cat like? Anything. Has the cat got fleas? Yes. Has the cat been speyed? No. Does Taslima use the computer that is in the room? No. That's for Ad-Dargam. Is the cat dangerous? Not really.

There were also too young children in the room, and they had obviously been in this world for some time .. at least a year I thought. In other words the decision to get rid of the cat had not been taken immediately after the birth of the latest child (epsilon in Erdos speak).

The trajectories of cats and epsilons were diverging. Taslima had one other cat, a canary and a hamster. The sleeping arrangements were be complicated by the fact that the cats might go after the canary.

Polly is a very small cat. She has tabby markings on top, but most of her underside is white. The other cat in the house was a ginger tom. He had been neutered at an early age. Taslima explained that the ginger cat was allergic to Polly's fleas. Ginger was out on the balcony when I arrived.

Next I was able to ring Dawud and arrange for him to call round. It was not so far from Dawud's flat in Totley, He could find the place on the map, just as I had done. He arrived about half an hour later, during which time I had made myself at home, accepting the offered tea and smoking a cigarette. Once Dawud arrived Ad-Dargam put Polly in the cage and I took my loads down to Dawud's car. There was another person in the car but I spent most time looking at how the cat reacted to travelling. I held the cat's cage on my lap, and Dawud drove us straight to my flat. I gave Dawud some money for the journey.


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The first arrival in a new house is obviously a big event for a cat. Many cats never change owners, but some are travellers. My own immediate concern is that I can leave England with Polly, but probably we could never return together because of quarantine laws.

When Barn and Lam arrived here they both found places to try and hide. Barn sat with the plastic bags around the wheels of the bike, and then behind the soft chair. Polly was even more discreet. I opened the cage in the kitchen, then took the ruksack into the bedroom. When I got back to the kitchen Polly was out of the cage and out of site. She had found a hiding place behind the refridgerator. I could not touch her there, without moving the refridgerator, which stands in a recess between the sink and the cupboard unit. Polly sat there several hours although she did communicate when I lowered a cork on a piece of string into the narrow space. She tugged. She was making a good job of being the invisible cat.

Later on, after sleeping for a while I returned to the kitchen and tried to find the cat. I moved the fridge an inch or so, and saw there was no cat. She had gone to the top of the stairs and was sitting amongst the black plastic sacks behind the bicycle. She allowed me to carry her downstairs but returned to the staircase. Now I offered her a couple of pieces of ham on the staircase then carried her down to where the food had been set out.

Because Polly is such a tiny cat, I think she has a high metabolic rate. She is probably more active than Hlam. It is also apparent that she can consume five or six pounds worth of food a week if I feed her on chicken and fish and ham all the time.


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During these first days it is necessary to assess the chances that Polly will run out of the flat when someone opens the outside door. The best way to stop this is to confine Polly to the kitchen whenever the keeper goes out, but this may be impossible to do in the long term.

Barn and Hlam were no problem. They would run to favourite places, normally the shelves under the television set. Polly seems to show a penchant for sitting behind the fridge, and that is an exellent hiding place. If the cat litter and food were hidden behind the soft chair, then it would be possible to keep a very low profile.


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When Saifon and Kaplan moved into their new house in a fashionable area of London not far from the resting place of Karl Marx they found a cat waiting for them. Saifon called her Willow. Willow is a black and white cat with some persian ancestry.

Willow avoids Hlam and Barn, and Hlam and Barn avoid Willow and Peter. Hlam and Barn are very close to each other. They would often touch heads as a sign of affection. Saifon and Kaplan also have their separate territories as much as possible in that house.

Cats define territories by smell. Humans also do this. Some people piss in the lifts for example. Others smoke cigarettes. More fastidious people use deodrants. Deodrant use is commercially important and it is meant to make for a better society.

It is quite likely that smells have their own meanings to different creatures. These meanings will generally be food, sex, or danger. Mimic smells can be used to catch prey, or to deter predators.

In this flat, Polly is cautious when entering the bedroom, and she never stays long. The kitchen is different. When Barn and Hlam left I swept up the kitchen, and sprayed insecticide where the beetles fed, and especially at the back of the fridge. It seems surprising that Polly jumped for the most toxic area in the whole kitchen when she first got out of the transport cage. Or did she go there to try and get rid of fleas ? She still scratches and licks, but her coat seems in good condition. Not quite so good as Hlam and Barn yet, but I intend to get her to put on a bit of weight. She is already behaving more like a cat, and shows more interest in games after a couple of days.


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Polly has been here for a couple of weeks. After a few days I got her a scratching post from a shop, but she does not use it. Photographs on the Internet show quite elaborate assemblies built up from scratching posts. Some of these have platforms and seats at different levels, like cat skyscrapers to be put up in the house. Polly is completely indifferent. She scratches the window near the cat litter tray, just like Barn. She also likes to scratch the soft chair near the litter tray. She always sleeps in the kitchen. Even though the door is open, she does not come into the bedroom at night.

Polly is not expensive to feed. She seems satisfied with solid cat food, and she will eat chicken and pilchards like Hlam, but her behaviour to ham seems quite different. Barn and Hlam regarded ham as quite a treat, and ham slices would dissappear very quickly. Polly is under no feeding pressure at all being the lone guest of a doting keeper. Therefore there is no apparent reward system based on food.

Games with string are the main control methods for this cat. She will follow a long piece of string when I drag this around the house, but she does not like the piece of string that has a brown paper bag tied to the end. She will follow it a couple of times, but then she will run away in fear.

Polly makes up her own games with the pilchards and the ham. When I give her a slice of ham she will leave on the dish until it is dry, like old bacon. Just like Hlam she will start on pilchards by licking off the tomato sauce and the skin. The delicate backbone of the fish will get left till last. Now she shows quite constructive behaviour in bringing these food remnants into the bedroom, and leaving them there.

Polly also shows quite different behaviour to Barn and Hlam when she sits on my knee for stroking. She puts her paws on my chest and starts nibbling my shirt. She will not nibble my skin, but she likes nibbling the clothes over my chest, just as though searching for the mother's breast. This is still the behaviour of a very young cat. She seems to enjoy doing this when she is being stroked.

Because Polly does not use the scratching post yet it seems that string has many uses. The tugging games give her some excercise for teeth and claws, and she seems to be learning to tug the string and even pull it away from me. Polly has also started sitting on the lower shelf below the TV set, where Barn and Hlam used to hide.


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The Guardian magazine reviewed a cat book. 'Goodbye Mog' by Judith Kerr highlights the life of a cat who lived to be 32 years old. This cat was called Mog and she has featured in several illustrated books for children. Mog could be jealous, and she could sulk, just like Hlam. Mog was finicky about food, causing the keepers some concern at times. She also saw many changes in the household over her life, including the arrival a baby, a family of foxes, and other household cats. Kate Kellaway, the reviewer, describes Mog as a career cat. This is certainly true. Judith Kerr compiled several: Mog's Kittens, Mog in the Dark, Mog's Bad Thing, Mog and the Granny, etc.

Title: Goodbye Mog
Author: Judith Kerr
Publisher: Picture Lions.
Size: 30 pages
Price: 9.99 pounds sterling


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Many people start learning english at school with a single proposition: The Cat Sat on The Mat. This complete sentence contains a subject, verb, and adverb clause. Most children can draw the cat as two circles, the top circle having whiskers, eyes, and ears added. The larger circle representing the body is given a tail, and any horizontal line below the cat represents the floor and mat, or carpet.


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Brekkies is a brand of cat food widely sold in the UK. The packet contains a picture of a tabby cat standing up and looking smart. This could be a picture of Polly. The only difference is the colour of the nose. Cats with white fur around the mouth often have a pink nose. Polly has small patches of black and brown on the left side of her muzzle, so the skin cells have some pigment. The nose is like a ruby: an exquisite jewel in a fine setting.

Brekkies (TM)


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Some cats like to sit under a table lamp. During 1996 the cat's keeper was staying in a house near the river Thames in West London. There was a white cat living at that house. His name was simply Mister Cat. This was the habit of the would be owner of the house.

The white cat would sit for hours and hours with his head near to the bulb of a table lamp. It seemed a form of cat meditation.

The white cat was old, and his ears were showing incipiant signs of cancer. The edges of the ears show many small scabs. The cat had been obtained from a cat shelter, and was taken as companion for an old woman who died a few months after acquiring the cat.

Although being a neutered male, the white cat was fairly small. Small cats are more likely to sit under table lamps. All domesticated cats appreciate the benefits of civilisation, but size is important both for the cat and the keeper. In the case of lighting and bedding it is easier to satisfy a small cat.

Hlam and Barn did not meditate under the light bulb. Size is one factor influencing this behaviour, but it is quite likely that being members of a larger household, two cats and a human, was also a factor.


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Polly now weighs about 3.75 kilos.
She is now being fed on tinned cat food.
She has intestinal worms, but rejects medecine.
She does not use the scratching post.
Polly likes to bring cat food from her bowl, into the bedroom.
Polly likes to gnaw the bed cover when she is being stroked.
When Polly brings food she miaows.
Polly has run out to the balcony several times when I arrive home.
Polly is much more agile than the other cats I had here.
Polly does not purr so much as the other cats.


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Polly has found a new game. As a single cat in the household she cannot draw attention by fighting the other cats. Instead she has chosen another form of attention seeking behaviour. She climbs the curtains to get to the top of the window. The most convenient starting point is the table on which is parked the Compaq laptop computer. The curtain is attached to a plastic curtain rail which is held onto the window with bits of wire. The jump to the shelf above the window is very high. It's only a few inches below the ceiling. Polly always has to scramble a little to mount the shelf above the window. The table from which she jumps is cluttered with books, floppy disks, pencils, matches, lighters and the ashtray. There is no good way for Polly returning to the ground except by landing on the desk amomgst the clutter. The Compaq is in the landing area. The folding lid of the Compaq has seized up. The machine is almost ready for dumping, but not quite yet. While the writer describes the cat, the cat sits under a table lamp close to the computer. When she sits or stands under the lamp she risks toppling it to the floor. The lamp has fallen many times.

Because of the high value of any laptop, the keeper is quite disturbed when Polly jumps up to the top of the window. Several times the cat has got down by stepping into a basket held above the keeper's head. Polly then gets carried down and the basket is placed on the box where it normally rests. Polly has been encouraged to sleep in this basket, and the experiment is successful. She curls up in the basket just like a dog sleeps in a larger basket.


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Polly gets sexually aroused every so often. She has not had an operation to remove her ovaries. When Polly is on heat she shuffles around the floor with her back arched downwards, and she takes the comportement of a mythical beast such as a gryphon. She utters high pitched growling sounds, and responds directly to any single spoken word by a little growl and a back shuffle. The behaviour is quite taxing at times.

Polly has had two periods since October. The last episode lasted a whole week.


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Cats and balls. Football for the men, tennis for the women. Venus and Sereena Williams the role models for a female cat. After a bit of throwing and retrieving I set the last game, and came to the computer. Polly's attention seeking behaviour became a miaow, and she ran in and dropped the ball from her mouth onto the stained & dingy sleeping bag laying on the floor. Polly has previously carried bits of catfood and even excrement into the room, but this is a first sign of such directed behaviour.

When Polly learns skills she is the best teacher for her kittens. That means that I just hang in and tell my friends she is the mother of the smart cat breed. Her isolation in a tower block is next stage to Mars voyage. Test calcium metabolism drugs on the cat to stop deep space bone loss and all that.


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The bone loss problem is more urgent now. NASA has just lost its second space shuttle, Columbia, which burnt up over Texas after an otherwise sucessful mission. Getting back to earth is a problem. Anything falling from orbit normally burns up, and that is life saving protection for us all in the normal run of events. The space shuttle and other re-entry vehicles are meant to survive a fall from orbit, but the space shuttle needs many expensive ceramic tiles on it's leading edges to prevent overheating.

The last words of the mission were 'Shut the door'.
The history of Mir shows that humans can survive long in the cramped conditions, and overcome considerable mishaps including fire and collisions, but entry and exit from orbit are incredibly expensive at up to twenty thousand dollars per kilo.

Many people start to question the ethics of manned space flight. There are certain obvious questions. Are men the right stuff? The Columbia carried a couple of women. Are astronaut weight limits right ? It would surely make sense to select small people. The large people will say that human muscle power is essential on deep space construction projects, and so you must have large people to do the heavy work.

Is it ethical to spend such large sums on manned space flight ? It might be if space exploration were to become a substitute for war, but the whole space-shuttle program was designed to be compatible with military needs. Aero-space industries are typically the apex of the military industrial complex.

Putting cats into space would be a step away from militarisation. Cats are cute pets here, but it might be quite bad if the spacemen make contact with a civilisation which had evolved from a species which had suffered from being hunted by cats.

The bible story of Noah is a sort of inspiration. Anyone could question the veracity of the story, but the business of keeping and preserving species has survived, although we appreciate some of the threats rather better. Cats are useless creatures from a practical point of view, but keeping cats happy and fit in space is a challenge. The bible does not say how Noah financed the venture. One has to assume that the prophet did not borrow money and offer to pay interest, since the bible is meant to be a book about a god that thinks financial systems based on interest rates are pure evil.

Tourism seems a valid way of financing space flights, and the first passengers have paid to get into orbit via Russian launchers. The seven deaths will not deter tourists.

MARCH 2003

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Polly has been on heat again. That's just hormones so it's not so bad as long term obsessions. Her keeper is worse. The library sent a couple of cards indicating the arrival of two books via an inter library loan. These two books are the classical works on the Zeta function by Titchmarsh and Edwards. Titchmarsh's work dates from the 1950s and Edwards's book was printed in 1974.

The axis x=1/2 in the complex plane is the center of a long strip. There is a hunt for a mouse in this region. Mathematicians are looking for a root of the equation Zeta(s)=0 which does not lie on this axis. The search has been on for a hundred years, during which the manned landing on the moon has become history.

The books both cover very similar material. The work of Hadamard and De La Vallee Poussin, done in the late 1800s is important in both books. The invention of computers stimulated the hunt, but it seems likely that the computers are no real help.


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Jessy is a little black and white cat, and she lives in the Beer Engine, a pub in Sheffield. On Sunday nights they have music, but there are also people who congregate there to play Go. On the last two occassions when I arrived Jessy often greeted me in the street. We both seem to have the same attitude to pub music. It's not enthrilling. "Ce n'est pas delirant" is a better phrase. The story is that Jessy goes with the pub. Jessy was sitting under the owner's vehicle when I left tonight. She miaowed and I opened the door of the pub to let her in. She seemed to know what she was doing.

Later that week Jessy went missing.


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A few days ago someone died within view of this flat. Polly became agitated and clawed at the curtains. I drew these curtains back a little and saw emergency vehicles and police around the tramline nexus close by. Polly had been miowing and she had drawn my attention to the incident which was either a suicide by laying down on the tram tracks, or a victim of a violent street robbery left to die.

The same sort of story may apply to Jessy. The landlord of the Beer Engine has been having trouble with the brewery, and he wants to take over another pub nearer to the center of town. Maybe Jessy knows this is going to happen, and went missing on purpose.


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Polly's keeper is trying to write some programs for the computer speaker. These programs twiggle the IO port settings for the PIT, or programeable interval timer. The noise is really terrible and much can be made to sound like speeded up tapes of common sounds played backwards. Exposing cats and humans to such noises can be disorientating although sirens, gunfire, and circular saws are also common forms of noise pollution. It is interesting to observe the reaction of the cat to various electronic noises. She is familiar with both radio and TV as well as her keeper's voice.


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Mick McManus picked up a CD which had been thrown away as litter on this estate. He was playing with it, reflecting light from the table lamp to the cupboard door behind Polly's feeding bowls. Polly found the spot of reflected light exciting, and chased after it. It is also common for people round here to play with their cats using a laser pointer, but Polly's keeper disapproves of this because laser light might damage the eyes if mis-used, or even by mere accident.


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Saifon called from Thailand. She wants to engage Hlam, Barn and Polly in astronaut training. Three cats cooped up in a small flat is just apalling. It will need another cat litter tray in the toilet under the washbasin. Hlam will get jealous of Polly. Polly's quiet life will be over. It's a gamble. I should get my driving licence sorted out so that I can drive to London and collect the cats.


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President Bush was filmed playing with a dog on the lawn of the White House in Washington. This was just part of the build-up to the snatch of Iraq's oilfields. Tony Blair and George Bush reassure a skeptical world that the war is a war about human rights, but their speaches about Iraqi human rights have worn out already, just like tiles on an obsolescent space shuttle.

APRIL 2003

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Polly pleases her keeper. We play together with white parcel string. This seems more exciting than the green garden string. She really seems able to carry off a two meter length when she wants a change of activity. She did this trick twice last night.

Because she is well fed it is hard to control her with food. However she does like attention, and extra playing and petting seems a form of reward. There is no punishment, although there are potential accidents if she does something silly.

Polly did not come on heat since the end of February. It could be that she does come on heat, but in a very attenuated form. It's different with her worm infestation. The glands on the sides of her anus stand out as little black spots, and worms sometimes wriggle out of her anus when I stroke her. In fact I see much of her back end when stroking her, because she likes to sit facing away from me. All cats seem to like being stroked on their haunches. Hlam loved it. Happy cats do tend to lift their tails.

The worms do not appear to cause Polly any problems, and the medicine which kills the worms appears a weapon of mass destruction. It's a synthetic, but in fact antihelmintic medicines are known from ancient times. Copious draughts of wormwood are amongst the threats of a jealous and vindictive God, to keep us in order. Modern science looks at the immune system as a signal processing mechanism which can distinguish between self and non-self. The worms are able to mimic self, so they are not attacked by the natural defences. Disruption of the worms' camauflage should lead to their demise.

Pumpkin seeds are also listed in the Merck Index as an antihelmintic. Pumpkin seeds are readily available in health food shops. They are cheap. They can be mixed into the cat's food and the cat will not reject the food. The question is how effective they are.


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On Saturday I visited the drinks reception for the interdisciplinary symposium on music at Leeds University. During this event I met Peter, and we started discussing the sound experiences of different animals. Peter seemed to know much about this, including the audible frequency ranges for different animals. The discussion went on to cats, and Peter started talking about two cats, and the way that they seemed to synchronise themselves to different external stimuli.

This was apparent with pendulum experiments I performed on Barn and Hlam. They crouched on the shelf under the TV while I swung a pendulum in front of them. They followed the movement with their heads and it seemed very cute behaviour.


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Modern pharmaceutical companies are all searching for anti-obesity drugs. The World Health Organisation (WHO) claims there is a world wide epidemic of obesity, with heart disease and diabetes as an expensive consequence. Polly's tape worms seem to be the answer. Genetically modified intestinal worms could solve this health problem. Some worms actually cause obesity, so further research is needed.


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Dr Manson had worms named after him. These worms sometimes caused grotesque swelling of the limbs by blocking the lymph glands. Dr Manson did his work in China just after England had obtained important concessions from the local administration by superior military forces.

One hundred and fifty years ago imperialism required cures for tropical diseases. The Panama canal could not be built without cures. Natives rather than laboratory animals were often used to test theories. Walter Reed offered natives about $5 for natives to risk their lives wearing clothes or sleeping in beds previously used by deceased victims of yellow fever.

In 2003 NASA revealed that a can of worms had survived the burn up of the Columbia space shuttle. It appears that the bio-tech experiment was a success. The smaller organisms survive catastrophe: indeed there is much evidence to show that small organisms can adapt themselves to survive in volcanic vents: the arsehole of a cat for round worms and the arsehole of a fiery planet for some weird creatures adapted to live on sulphur.

Sometime in evolution man learned to domesticate beasts and plants. The biotech century promises the domestication of species made to our desire: resistance to a certain commercial pesticide, perhaps, or for apocalyptic terrorists a 100% kill rate mutation of anthrax or smallpox. The biotech century is also heading towards extinction for many of the earth's species with the current line of capitalist utilitairian thinking.

Extermination of a species has become a deliberate act. Officially the smallpox virus was eliminated in the 1970s. The history of emerging diseases has shown that total control takes time.


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The keeper may try to train the cat, or the keeper may passively await orders from the cat. When the keeper is drunk the cat has to tolerate this. Cats are often more tolerant than humans and it is a common observation that cats and dogs have a good judgement of human character.

JUNE 2003

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Polly has been on heat again: two months since the last time. It had been alarming to read an article on rec.pets.cats saying that a female cat could come on heat every three weeks with two weeks off and one week on.

Now that there is another computer in the house Polly's area on the tabletops is restricted. She can sit on a narrow ledge between the top of the table and the computer, but she must walk across the keyboard to get to the other side.


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It's fly season again. This time I don't use insecticide. Polly has chosen to eat more dry cat food, and hardly touches tinned meat, either in paste, or jelly. There are few meat seeking flies this time, and chasing flies is a sport for Polly.

During the warm weather Polly eats less and lounges about. For the most part she is silent. When I go in the kitchen she usually walks to her food bowl and nibbles, but often she says nothing. She has become a quiet cat.

Last night I listened to some sort of religious and philosophical discussion program on the radio where people were talking about whether animals had morality and ethics. Caring for the old and sick was thought part of morality, and this has been observed in the animal kingdom to a certain extent. None of the participants suggested that some animals might be humans or for that matter angels in stages of reincarnation. It is quite likely Polly would understand much of this.

Polly has her places in this flat. The litter tray and feeding dishes are included, but she also likes the chair in front of the computer. There is also the carpet with the scratching post. Polly's keeper visits certain places in Sheffield and the surroundings. Three favorites are the General Cemetary, near Eccleshall Road; Win Hill, near Bamford; and Eccleshall Woods, just off Abbeydale Road, near Millhouses Park.


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Last night Polly knocked over the lamp on the table. The lamp had been left on as usual, and Polly enjoys sitting near to a table lamp. By accident the lamp fell onto the soft chair near the table. This is the chair next to the cat litter tray, and Polly loves to scratch it. In fact she had already gouged great holes into the fabric, and the inner material was leeking out.

The contact of the lightbulb with the chair started to create smoke. I was dozing in and out of sleep, and already I knew that the recent clear weather was ending because the sky seemed cloudy. There was no bright sunlight. Suddenly I noticed the upset lamp. The bulb was still alight, but off the table. That had happened many times before, so I was not too worried, but I went to set things right. When I got closer I realised that the chair was smoldering and as I moved the lamp it seemed about to burst into flame. I immediately snatched the electric plug out of the nearby wall socket in order to protect the laptop computer, and then I rushed over to the sink and took the pan in which I had over cooked rice the night before. The pan had been left to soak, so I emptied much of the gunge, filled the tap from the sink and doused the chair which was burning with two or three feet high flames by this time. The chair lost a lot of spongey material which burned away, and it required two saucepans to dowse it. When I moved it nearer to the door I could see that it was ready to burst into flames yet again, and a third pan was required.

The chair is badly damaged but I will need to keep using it until I find a replacement. Polly will still enjoy sitting there. The damage is minimised although I took a necessary risk in reaching over the burning chair to unplug the electrics.

During the last few months I have been well aware of the risk of domestic fire and explosion. Since the electric ring set broke down after over zealous cleaning I have been frying things with camping gas stove or hexamine solid fuel. The standard of manufactured goods here in the UK is abysmally low. Political and business leaders claim things are great, but most goods sold here are over priced and shoddy.

People in England lack design skills. Capitalism ensures that profits are more important than utility. British train services are the large scale example of profits before utility.


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The hot weather in the UK is bringing insect infestations again. This time it's greenfly which are attacking the plants. The mint has been very hard hit recently, although there was no problem last year.

In fact insects claimed a fatality in the moors near here. An organiser of grouse shooting parties on the nearby moors stumbled on a wasps' nest during his return from a shoot. He was stung, but he got to a nearby public house where two doctors were amongst the drinkers. Despite their attentions the man died shortly afterwards.


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An English cat breeder claims that he has sold cats for astronimical sums. He claims to be involved in a deal for a hundred thousand pounds concerning the sale of a Bengali cat. In the cat world there are various breeds with exotic names and claims. Bengal, Somalia and Korat are supposed origins of some of these species, but there is scant description of the average cat in these locations.

Cats themselves deserve serious scientific study, but the commercialisation of the trade in cats clearly has its limits in providing sponsorship for research. Genological tables have less interest than DNA and protein analysis. Indeed some of the rare and coveted breeds are themselves the result of experiments. Apparently there were some cross breeding experiments in the 1960s to look for strains of cat resistant to feline leukemia.


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The ancient elements were earth, air, fire and water. Polly knows all these elements well.

Earth is in the cat litter tray. She likes to turn over the materials in this tray.

Air is where she lives, ten floors up at the level of bird flight. She regularly gazes into the abyss from balcony.

Fire is regularly present in the form of candles, joss sticks or the camping gas cooker. Polly has also started a real fire by knocking an electric lamp onto a combustible chair.

Water is fascinating. Polly likes to jump into the bath to see if any water is dripping from the taps. Sometimes I turn on the cold tap a little, and put the plug in the drain. Polly will sit watching the water move slowly towards her, but she carefully watches the shape of the water front, which is rounded because of surface tension. When her paws get wet she leaps back a little, but sometimes she just sits on her tail and watches the water until she feels the damp and jumps out. Polly also likes to watch the runoff when I water the plants on the balcony. There is a small gutter, and she sits waiting to see the water flow towards the drain. Previously she used to run away when I watered the plants, but now that I am careful not to splash her she gets plenty of quiet amusement just watching moving water.


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Polly likes to chase a piece of string with a feather attached. The feather seems more interesting than a paper bag.


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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was Sergeo Leone's most elaborate spaghetti weastern. It staged an American Civil War battle. Clint Eastwood played the part of a crack marksman who could rescue his accomplice in fraud from many a hanging. One scene of this epic film showed Clint Eastwood stroking a pretty little white cat. Actors are supposed to avoid acting with animals and children. Clint entered politics as an elected official in a small California community but he is such a good movie maker that he sticks to what he knows best. Clint pushes the buttons for the National Rifle Association type of patriots, but his screen persona shows such skepticism that it's easy to believe he just wants to excel, and politics is not the best arena for that. He can certainly act with animals.


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The cat sits above the abyss. Sudden death can happen. Humans also leap or fall from balconies. The BBC program "Pariah Profession" produced an instance. Social workers are common on the estates of Sheffield because there is a high incidence of psychotic bahaviour and drug abuse and these episodes have great economic impact in a service oriented economy. The crazy and the drug enslaved form a bottomless pit of misery for healthcare trusts to farm. Methadone programs and social work visits can attract funding from the government and social workers don't necessarily come cheap these days. 27K sterling was quoted on the program as the annual wage for a social worker. In a fully service economy social work is a booming industry.

Mark Drummond discussed the cat problem on his rounds. A rather inarticulate psychotic toxicomane had recently lost his cat, to a fall from a tenth floor flat. Mark was inclined to the view that the death was suspicious. Cats can normally handle hights. There is a lurking suspicion that Mark's client killed the cat.

There could be alternative explanations. The cat could have been seeking a mate to the extent of wanting to try a risky traverse to a neighbouring flat. The cat could have got too involved in chasing a pigeon.

The cat could have got depressed from living with such an owner. Escape from the misery of the world is a high motive for many. The flats have their share of suicide by air.

British housing estates are full of unhappy people alienated from society. It's just the same or worse in France. The French also have many social workers. They have the same problems as the UK. Unemployment and underemployment give rise to black economies including drug traffiking. Paradoxically you also see great demands for really low priced labour in the same economies with high unemployment.

Unemployment is distributed geographically. Sink estates are places where most people are unemployed. In the UK most of these have television.

Cats are an alternative to television. They can't tell you the news but they don't seem to tell lies either. Mark's client always needed to pay some attention to the cat. Obviously the cat had got fed and watered, but there is always more that can be done.

Primo Levi suffered death by air.
Plunging into the Abyss of Dispair.


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Cats are popular pets in England. They appear more popular than dogs. Smart politicians address this feature of life. Anne Widdecombe and Michael Howard are examples of this. Both of these politicians make a show of their love of cats. It is difficult to hate these people even if their politics appear detestable and potentially lethal. Both Anne Widdecombe and Michael Howard are associated with the 'Prison Works' policy. They think a party can get votes by threatening to lock up more people. The last policy floated by the English Conservative Party is to detain refugees and asylum seekers on a distant island until they can be processed in an echo of the Australian policy. Michael Howard is not responsible to this crazy idea but he knows he is walking a very narrow line between populism and out and out xenophobia and fascism.

Michael Howard supports cat charities in his local constituency. This is important because as Tory leader he does not want the local people to vote him out because his party enjoys the epithet of 'Nasty Party'. Stories of Michael Howard supporting the local cat shelter are the stuff of making a positive image.

Anne Widdecombe is even more of a paradox for the 'Nasty Party'. She is a person with a high regard for ethics. She opposes fox hunting which is supported by the landed gentry and a Labour baroness. Anne Widdecombes's morality is impeccable. She is a catholic, and she writes books about problems such as disability and euthanasia. She is easily lampooned, and one Dutch commentator compared her to Hattie Jaques, a well known comedienne of a previous era. Anne Widdecombe wanted to see a policy of zero tolerance on cannabis. As soon as she suggested this proposal several of her colleagues on the Tory front bench went public with the fact that they had tried cannabis during their own student days. What had Anne been doing?

Mary Archer is another Tory cat lover. She hed a pet cat during her student days at Oxford University. A recent TV documentary showed her with her cats. Her husband, a former Tory Party grandee was serving time in prison for perjury, but Mary did not appear to be losing any sleep over that. The cats are enough for Mary Archer. She has been making a good living in biochemistry at Cambridge University.

Michael Howard and Anne Widdecombe both favour tough policies when it comes to locking up fellow human beings. Geoffrey Archer, Mary's husband, used to give lavish parties for Tories and their hangers on. Having been in jail he has been exposed to a lot of criminals who probably share many of his right wing views. It's therefore most unlikely that prison reformed the man.

Cherie Blair is the wife of the prime minister, Tony Blair. Shortly after Labour won the 1997 election, Humphrey, the 10 Downing Street Cat, got rehomed. It was clear that Cherie Blair is not a great fan of cats. Politicians are divided on the issue, but it's true that at some stage cats were on the government payroll. In the days before Warfarin, cats were considered useful to control rodents in kitchens and food storage areas of government buildings. These cats might be called mousers. There are occasional parliamentary debates as to how to continue this tradition.

In practice government cats are probably cared for by servants. In the case of Humphry, the 'Downing Street Cat' under John Major, the beast went missing and spent much time with army vets at the nearby barracks.

The Egyptians mummified some cats along with the owners. Clearly some cats had status.


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Many people world wide end up keeping their cats 'en cachette'. Moortje and Muisje shared the life of Anne Frank. Sometimes it is necessary to be discrete. My mother did not keep a cat. She did not want to annoy the landlord.


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14/04/2003 start (attenuated)
21/04/2003 stop
11/06/2003 start
17/06/2003 stop vomit 16/06/2003
12/08/2003 start
18/08/2003 stop
06/10/2003 start
13/10/2003 stop vomit 09/10/2003
29/11/2003 start (attenuated)


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Possession by the Devil is the theme of the Excorcist. This film is based on a novel by William Peter Blatty. Blatty set the novel in Washington DC. A young girl is possessed by a demon that ends up killing a neighbour and both the priests who conduct the excorcism. Having a cat on heat is just like that. There is a levitation scene where the priests invoke the name of God just to get the girl to come back to ground. It's like someone calling a cat which does not want to answer.

The November 29 start was early. I had expected about 10 December for a two month cycle. It's certainly not a single month cycle. The month of October saw Polly take a bit of piperazine mixed in her food. She did not refuse the food, but she did not eat all of it either. Piperazine is a deworming medication in the correct dosage.


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Primo Levi had something to say about cats. In the first story, 'Iron', the pet dog of Primo's friend Sandro got marked on the nose by a female cat defending her kittens. Sandro took his pet dog climbing in the mountains. The dog accompanied the owner up tough routes.

Many hikers in the Sheffield area take their dogs up the hills. The only cats in the hills are farm cats. There must be plenty of these. Most cats seem to co-exist quite well with a variety of dogs.

Primo's story 'Arsenic' puts the cat in a rather more passive role. A cobbler is given sugar by a business rival. He tests out the sugar on the house cat, then his wife and himself before taking the sample to the chemist for analysis. The chemist finds that the sample contains arsenic by heating a sample and observing a lilac colour.

The cobbler made his cat then his wife and himself quite ill before giving the stuff to the chemist. The chemist just gave up the stuff to be eaten by fire.


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Muschel 1931-42. Victor Klemperer's tomcat. Put down after a Nazi order that Jews could not keep pets.

Fascism is bad for cats. Victor Klemperer survived the whole of the Nazi regime. The cat saw the impoverishment of his guardians. People were tortured and killed for the slightest infraction of regulations. Wartime hardships justified more and more intrusions of the state into daily life.

Victor Klemperer's diary of the struggles with burocracy and bigotry make fascinating reading. The decision to put down Muschel must have been hard to take, but in the end the lives of the guardians was given priority. Victor Klemperer describes how the guardians gave up most of their meagre meat ration for the cat's last meal.

It is a very tragic story.
Victor Klemperer himself survived sufficiently to rebuild his academic career and even to re-marry on the death of his first wife of forty five years' standing.

In the 21st century America is showing itself to be enamoured with zealous burocracy. New arrivals will have to subject themselves to fingerprinting and ID cards showing biodata. They set up an unlimited budget organisation called DHS (Department of Homeland Security). This organisation is set up to keep track of enemies in the unending war against terror. Many skeptics think that the WOT is a put up job and Osama is working for the CIA. It's for sure that Taliban training videos don't really look so different from conventional elite unit traing videos which are shown at arms fairs and military training establishments worldwide. They show tough men breaking into rooms with machine guns and shooting or terrorising the people there.


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Polly is on heat. I use an old fashioned typewriter to write a letter. Polly is sensitive to the noise and responds to the keystrokes. She seems to jump with surprise each time I hit a key. That may be a reflection of slow typing speed, but it is strange that she responds in such an obvious fashion. The cat dances to the tune of the keys.


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During the sunny evenings it is possible to catch the sun in a mirror. Reflecting the spot of the sun onto a wall, then rotating the mirror gives a spot for the cat to chase. Polly seems to enjoy this game.


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Polly is sleeping on the bed. She does not seem to have worms so much now. During the summer she ate three cannabis plants. I also sprinkled some leaves of wormwood in her dry catfood, but these still remain there. She has also shown interest in nibbbling bits from a lupin plant. The flat is filled with her fur. It would be interesting to know how animal fur reacts with really harmful dust such as asbestos and suchlike. Obviously the dust will get recirculated with over vigourous sweeping, but sometimes it's possible to just pick up handfuls of settled cat hair and bin this and all the attached dust in one go.


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Sun Oct 17 01:24:06 BST 2004
Polly seems to like peppermint flavoured toothpaste. When I clean my teeth, then go to stroke her, she likes to lick my hands between the fingers. It is a pleasure to feel the rough tongue of a cat. Saifon, the keeper of Barn and Hlam has got a computer. I promised to visit her in London. It means I must get someone to look after Polly while I am away.


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Wed Dec 1 22:24:34 GMT 2004
Today I learned that Barn has gone missing. He had been at Saifon's flat in Hammersmith, West London, but was allowed to roam. One day he did not come back. He has been missing for several days now. I feel sad that I did not see Barn since his return to London two years ago. Hlam is quite lonely now.


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Donald Engels has written a book titled "Classical Cats". The book deals with the history of cats in the Egyptian, Greek and Roman periods along with a description of the later so called 'Dark Ages'. In a couple of pages the author compares the Islamic world most favourably with the Christian zealots, hurled at the moslems in the age of crusades. The book contains many interesting illustrations showing the cat as either a hunter, bird watcher, or adornment. A cat can nicely stand on a small table, or crouch under a chair. There is even a picture of a cat being taught to dance on its hind feet.

The appendix gives a translation of a Papal Bull issued by Pope Gregory IX in 1233. This 'fatwa' so to speak exhorts armed men to take ever more vigorous actions against heretics, even to the extent of extermination of the heretics who persist in their errors. Black cats are associated with devil worship, along with toad licking. The author alleges that black cats were often killed along with their owners during the witch hunt period. Remnants of these old traditions linger on in Britain to this day. Antonia Fraser who wrote about persecution of Catholics in Tudor and Stewart England draws attention to the bonfire night ceremonies where live cats were sometimes put in bags to be burned in celebration of the defeat of the Catholic conspiracy dubbed the 'Gunpowder Plot'. Nowadays only effigies are burned, and recently a mock gypsy caravan was consigned to the flames, because gypsies and travellers have become common hate figures in much of the popular media.

Classical Cats. The rise and fall of the sacred cat.
Donald Engels.
Routledge. London and New York.
Published 1999. Reprinted 2000.
ISBN 0-415-21251-0

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