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…and another thing…


Here’s how that kitteh study happened. A decade ago, a man in Scotland was taken to court for shooting a protected Scottish wildcat. Remember those? And he got up on the stand and said, “looks like a cat to me.” And they let him go because…well, yeah.

So scientists realized they needed to figure out the whole cat DNA dealio, especially if they wanted to protect some wildcats by law.

So dude went out and sampled almost a thousand cats, wild and domestic, from all over the world. There are five major flavors of wildcat, and the domestic cat can and does merrily interbreed with them all, because she’s a dirty, dirty girl. Which is why it’s so suprising that modern housecats can be traced not just to a single type of wildcat, but five specific individual cats.

Most domestic animals were domesticated simultaneously all over the place, from local wild stock, but not the cat. All the tens of millions of American housecats are the children of cats brought over on ships from the Olde Worlde — despite all our lovely lynx and margays and ocelots, the American domestic shorthair is all lybica. Isn’t that odd?

Okay, back to the Scottish wildcat for a second. One of the reasons they’re endangered is that they merrily interbreed with housecats. What researchers have found, though, is that over time the wildcat genes are stronger. That is, subsequent generations become, genetically, more and more like Felis sylvestris grampia and less like Mister Fluffybutt.

So I’m thinking that must by Lybica‘s trick. That despite inbreeding with some very dubious gentlemen, the line always moves back toward the original. Tabby breeds true.

A lot of cats have some stripeyness. Catch her in the right light and you can see faint bars under the black parts of Charlotte’s fur. But, other than that, Lybica characteristics aren’t usually sold separately. They all come together or not at all — the black lips, the brick red nose and paw pads, the long, blunt, wavy tail. It’s the whole Franklin Mint set, plus the beautiful mahogany display case.

All the slutty behavior and the silly shapes and colors cats have mutated into, it’s extraordinary how common cats like Schroedinger and Damien are — animals that have slap-bang regressed ten thousand years to the prototype.

I think that’s just so cool.


Comment from Scubafreak
Time: July 29, 2008, 2:03 pm

Just think of them as Kitty Coelacanths, stoatie. The design worked so well that it never needed to change…

Comment from Jill
Time: July 29, 2008, 2:34 pm

All the more reinforcement that kittehs cannot be improved upon. 🙂

Comment from Allen
Time: July 29, 2008, 3:07 pm

There was a litter born here in my barn a few years ago. We had a calico, a Damien type, a fluffy Damien type, and a Lynx Rufus half breed. MomCat, who was just passing through BTW, had many suitors.

I pawned most of them off to friends, “they’re sooooo cute,” now it’s, “where did you get these bastards?” Ha! born and raised right here.

Woohoo, earthquake just rolled through. I think I’m seasick.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 29, 2008, 3:32 pm

You’re close enough to feel that one, Allen? So far, so good as far as damage…at least, from what the first reports are.

Comment from Allen
Time: July 29, 2008, 3:46 pm

I heard it was a 5.8 in Chino Hills. That’s about 150 miles away as the crow flies.

The whole building was doing the Richter Shimmy, it lasted about 30 seconds. About 12 years ago we had a 5.5 about 2 miles from my office. My monitor attacked me on that one, part of the floor kind of sunk too. Sinkholes are not cool 20 feet away.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: July 29, 2008, 3:47 pm

I think that Rosie O’Donnell finally had an orgasm…

Comment from nicole
Time: July 29, 2008, 3:56 pm

What excellent information, Weas!

Comment from porknbean
Time: July 29, 2008, 4:11 pm

I think that Rosie O’Donnell finally had an orgasm…

Eww, ew, ew.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: July 29, 2008, 4:13 pm

On a sillier note, I present Kitty Rodeo.

(I just wish I could locate the English language version)

Comment from Jill
Time: July 29, 2008, 4:17 pm

OMG that’s great!!!

I should think an English-language version would be out there somewhere – “Joe” is played by the actor Jerry McConnell (Of ‘Crossing Jordan’ and married to Rebecca Romjin fame).

Comment from Jill
Time: July 29, 2008, 4:34 pm

O’Connell, not McConnell.

I cannot brain today – I have the dumb.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: July 29, 2008, 4:36 pm

Ooooo, Jill….

Don’t make me post Cockroach Water Ballet…… 🙂

Comment from TattooedIntellectual
Time: July 29, 2008, 6:11 pm

I can attest to an English language version existing, just not sure it’s on utube.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: July 29, 2008, 9:12 pm

Jill – that is brilliant.

Every day I have the dumb.

Cue B.B. King.


Comment from Jessica
Time: July 29, 2008, 9:34 pm

Very Cool.
I am wondering what kind of evil hell-cat Pablo is related to – tonight I found a dead BABY Bunny in the yard, right next to a dead mole (#101 so far this summer). Moles are bad enough, but a baby bunny!? Sigh.

Comment from Jill
Time: July 29, 2008, 10:22 pm

I wish I could claim it as original, but ah cain’t.


Uncle B, I had a cat who loved Muddy Waters. The only time he’d lay right next to the stereo speakers was when the Muddy Waters cd was playing. The cd would play and he’d lay next to the speakers. As soon as it was finished, he’d get up and saunter into another room.

Comment from Allen
Time: July 29, 2008, 11:40 pm

Speaking of rodeo… the first time my horse met a herd of cattle he was frightened by them. WTF? A horse afraid of cattle? Now that was a day that shall live in shame. Anywho I sent John Cox a picture of me and the horse for my new wine label, John captured him well.


But, don’t let his look fool you. He’s plotting… While I was killing brain cells in NC he got impacted. That’s short for your vet is going to stick their arm up the horse’s butt and then charge you a shitload of money.

For some strange reason he likes when I whistle songs to him, especially Little Feat. Dixie Chicken seems to be a favorite. “My money flowed like wine…”

Comment from porknbean
Time: July 30, 2008, 12:09 am

Sweasel, that is a lovely kitteh painting. Did you do it?

Comment from scubafreak
Time: July 30, 2008, 12:48 am

“That’s short for your vet is going to stick their arm up the horse’s butt and then charge you a shitload of money.”

What, you expected an Amish Mechanic to be cheap? 🙂

Comment from Allen
Time: July 30, 2008, 1:12 am

PnB I’m convinced the House of Weasel, and Badger House contains many such Weasel Works. The trick will be ferreting one out.

I personally would like one up at my place in the mountains. Mountain lions, bears, oh crap! As my wife used to say (when she left raw meat out for the visiting mountain lion) “can we keep him?”

I would prefer a piece of artwork of a mountain lion, but that’s just me.

Please Weasel? I’ll send wine, money too.

Comment from porknbean
Time: July 30, 2008, 3:34 am

Oh my! THE John Cox? I’m impressed. I have signed copies of his and Forkum’s editorial cartoon books. Sucks that they stopped.
Love the label. He did a great job, but then your horse is a handsome beast. And yep, still prefer to clean out a boar’s sack ( in tact male guinea pigs tend to get impacted), than mess with a horse’s orifices. Poor guy.

Perhaps when weasel finally sheds her day job, house, and country of birth *sniff, wipes eyes*, she will be able to devote some time to her artistry. Then sales. I’d like some weasel art too. Heh. I can see it now. Allen’s commissioned mountain lion with a weasel peeking out from under it’s tail.
(heh, did your wife get to keep it?)

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 30, 2008, 7:18 am

Jessica! I’ve forgotten how to get onto your blog, now it’s behind the veil of privacy. Hope the move is going well. Pablo may be the mighty hunter, but my heart belongs to Foxy.

It’s not real art, y’all. This piece isn’t. I didn’t have a graphic to go along wif my post, so this is just farting around the Photoshop (not that you can’t do real art with P’shop — people are doing lovely stuff — but this is just farting around).

I’ll post some pencils with today. I am trying to limber up my art muscles after all these years. I’ll take any work I can get, once I’m over there, but I’d love to take another stab at fine art.

Comment from Jill
Time: July 30, 2008, 9:45 am

I was going to say that I’d love a genuine Weasel piece, but that makes me sound like a pervert.

Let me put it this way: I’d buy a paintin’…

Comment from porknbean
Time: July 30, 2008, 12:23 pm

Well, if that is what you get on photoshop, I’d love to see what you can do when you’re not farting. I still like the idea of inserting a weasel somewhere on a serious study.

Comment from Nicole
Time: July 30, 2008, 1:44 pm

Combining 2 comment threads of late: cats and fat. 🙂


Comment from Scubafreak
Time: July 30, 2008, 2:18 pm

Yup, I saw that on Fox News this morning. People are calling her Princess Chunky……. 🙂

If she was in Asia, I would say that they were getting her ready for the Rotisserie……

Comment from Jessica
Time: July 30, 2008, 4:20 pm

My heart also belongs to Foxy. Days I find dead bunnies in the yard are days I feel like sending Pablo to live on a farm someplace.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 30, 2008, 4:30 pm

The dead ones aren’t the real downers. The REAL downers are the mortally wounded ones, shrieking for release. I have an Adorable Small Animal Neck-Breaking Shovel on hand in the Fall. 🙁

I take it the pussoes can go outside where you are now?

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: July 30, 2008, 4:53 pm

One of my old cats, Spooks, used to bring us live garter snakes, at least once a week. after the first few, she didn’t even leave a mark on them. We sould just giver her some tuna and take the snake out to the field.

She was always so proud of herself. The Vet said she was probably trying to teach us how to hunt, but she was definately getting some bats in the belfrey by that age.

All in all, she was a great cat.

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