Today has given me pause, as I have only now found out about the death of the HMS Belfast‘s ships’ cat.

I do hate people sometimes.

Anyway – I shall raise a glass this evening for ships’ cats past, present and future. And confusion to their enemies.

28. March 2008 · Write a comment · Categories: kitties · Tags: , ,


Mr. Lee CatCam
is clearly something I need to purrsue……..



Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


The kitty land bridge reopened last night after a hot summer of air conditioning, and the mass migration of three felines between two open windows was epic in scope.

Sadly, the land bridge was our bed and the migration began in earnest at 4:15 a.m. and continued unabated until 9.

Highlights of the migration included a most dramatic shadow puppet play behind the curtains, staged especially for us at 6:20 a.m. There was also a tense moment when two migrants launched a frontal assault on Scylla the pioneer, who had clearly read the ‘Art of War’ and maintained the high ground most valiantly.

And loudly.

By 7:40, civilized behavior had returned and the migration took on a more organized aspect, with each cat waiting his or her turn to be in any given window. This did not preclude, however, the opportunity to swat each of us in the face repeatedly so that we might be awake to see the civility we had been asking for all night.

Ah….don’t you just love autumn?


Well…if you haven’t already heard, there is no feline in the ordnance.

Having just recently attempted to squash Moby into a cat carrier, I concede that the theorem I had postulated awhile back is in fact true.

Cats will expand to exceed the available space when placed in the vicinity of a cat carrier.

Hence, Francis Butts is no longer in trouble with PETA.



white cat plus dark blue carpet equals…

well…certainly more vacuuming than I’ve ever done…..


So let me tell you about moving and cats. I feel that I’m an expert on this subject as a)we have moved and b)we have cats.

So moving day dawns and we herd the cats into the master bathroom for a fun filled day of feline angst. The movers arrive just before 8 a.m. – and to make matters even more interesting – there’s a nor’easter blowing.

In June.

Anyway. Not long into the move, one of the moving guys takes a break and says to me: “Ma’am, I’m not sure what your cats are doing, but I’ve heard howling, loud banging noises, stuff being swept off the counter….and then the water came on….”

I took the stairs two at a time.

At this point, the cats had apparently organized, and were attempting, not wholly unsucessfully, to pull the vacuum cleaner under the bathroom door. They had managed to force the plug through the opening under the door and had pulled the entire power cord into the bathroom. When I arrived, they were in the process of banging the vacuum cleaner into the door repeatedly – protesting the less than optimal conditions in which they found themselves. I extracted the remains of the vacuum from their clutches and watched as a defiant paw came out from under the door and gestured menacingly.

I still can’t explain how they turned on the water.

Anyway – 8-1/2 hours, more angst, and two moving trucks later, the movers and Jim headed to the new homestead.

I remained behind ready to handle whatever I found behind the bathroom door.

So I open the door.

Three cats had gone into the room. Only one came out.

That’s when I noticed that the sink was staring at me.

Good. Two cats, one slightly damp.

Finally, I opened the cabinet where apparently the other two had placed the third.

In all – it went pretty well. No bloodshed, a fair amount of flying fur, and a nascent Cat Union that I’ll have to bust up.

They think that they’ll be renegotiating their contract….but I’ve found a great deal on kibble…….


There is a certain je ne sais quoi that comes with being awakened hours before one intends by a cat full of ear mites.

Correction: three cats full of ear mites.

Yet that is exactly what transpired yesterday morning when Sumi decided to excavate her ear.

On my head.

It is difficult to express how many showers and loads of laundry and repeated vacuumings have to occur after such an event. Especially after the veterenarian shows you an ear mite in the microscope. A great huge hulking armor-plated beastie fully intent upon evil filled the entire eyepiece. Certain that the mites were already carrying out their plan for world domination by using chez Holloway for a staging area, we began our counter-assault upon them.

Soon, the house began taking on the appearence of the Russian Front – yet smelled lemony fresh. Cats hid in every conceivable place – feeling very much like Poland in the mites’ attempt at establishing a Fourth Reich here.

But we will prevail.


Let’s see – where should I begin?

First off – Birthday greetings go out to Mike who is somewhere in his thirties today. He wouldn’t tell me how old – only that I was still older.

In other news…The weekend went extremely well. Well – that is except for when I was ritually savaged by someone present – but we won’t talk about that here since that wouldn’t be very nice…

Oh – and perhaps we can forget about the fact that I had to announce about the Space Shuttle during the meeting. Seems like I’m always having to be the one to announce things like that. Other than that – and the fact that my jaw was about to head south with a lovely flare up of TMJ – it was great!

No really. It truly was a great weekend. I cannot say enough good things about the historians with whom I met on Friday and Saturday. There’s not one of them that I wouldn’t invite back in a heartbeat! We had some incredible discussions about the historical content outline for the USS Monitor Center and got a lot of great advice from experts in the field. I’d forgotten how much fun it was to really get into a historical discussion – it’s been awhile. It felt like the good part of doctoral comps again – but this time it meant even more.

I also have to give kudos to Judy – our content developer – for kicking some historical butt. She was great in the in-depth discussions. I hope she had a decent time in the wilds of Tidewater Virginia for the rest of the weekend. It must have had some sort of impact on her – she said “Bye y’all!” when she left…..

Anyway – that’s enough for that.

But I did want to say something about my friend Jeff, who defended me against the savagery again today (that’s right – it happened again). I owe him big – even though he said I didn’t, since that’s what friends are for – but I need to give him a big thank you for being my knight in iron armor today.

So for those of you who know Jeff – please go worship him now. For those of you who don’t know him – be happy in the knowledge that there are some really nice people existing in the universe. If you find one – go buy them a drink – because they deserve it.

In even more news – Jim had the sad task of telling me last night that an old colleague of mine passed on yesterday. She was quite old at 17 and probably very tired.

She was Elizabeth the Ship’s Cat at Jamestown Settlement and she had been there since before I worked there. She was the most compact, most personable, most universally loved ginger tabby that ever existed. I swear she’s in the photo albums of thousands the world over. Her eyes matched her fur and she got her name honest – her ruff and her colour rivaled that of Queen Elizabeth the First, for whom she was named.

You know, Elizabeth almost came to live with me at one point when folks at the museum weren’t sure about whether they should be concerned with the budgetary needs of a feline employee.

That’s when my grandparents stepped in.

Now what you have to understand is that they never once met Elizabeth. But they knew how special she was and they loved her from afar. So they sent food, supplies, and paid her vet bills while I worked with her.

That’s partly why I cried so much when Jim told me about her last night. I’m guessing that’s why I’m all teary right now. Because I’ve found that when you hear something sad, you cry for that – but for other things as well.

So Elizabeth – this is for you. And for my Nannie and DeDaddy. I hope that they’ve finally met you in person now. They love kitties, so you should be fine.

Fair winds sweet kitty.