July, the seventh month of the Gregorian calendar, which is used in almost all the world today. It was the fifth month in the early calendar of the ancient Romans. The Romans called the month Quintilis, which means fifth. Later, the Romans moved the beginning of the year to January 1, but did not change the names of the months. The Roman statesman Julius Caesar was born during this month. In 46 B.C., Caesar gave Quintilis 31 days. The Roman Senate renamed the month Julius in honour of Caesar. In most countries in the Northern Hemisphere, July is usually the hottest month of the year. In the Southern Hemisphere, July is one of the winter months. Except for cold Antarctica and the cold rainy part of South America, the climate during July is mild in most countries in the Southern Hemisphere.
July symbols: The ruby, which symbolizes contentment, is the gem for July. Its birth flowers are the Larkspur or the Water Lily.
Then came hot July, boiling like to fire, that all his garments he had cast away. - Edmund Spenser
The summer looks out from her brazen tower, through the flashing bars of July. - Francis Thompson
If the first of July be rainy weather, it will rain, more or less, for four weeks together. - English Proverb
Hot July brings cooling showers, Apricots and gillyflowers. - Sara Coleridge
Probably the only legend surrounding the British Wild Cat emanates from the county of Leicestershire, United Kingdom, where there was a cave named "Black Annis's Bower." Annis was a wild and terrible woman - sometimes said to be one "Agnes Scott," a murderous female thief. In any event, Annis was likened to Britain's only wild carnivore, the wild cat, and she would lie in wait on the branch of an oak tree, springing on her victims below to suck their blood and tear them to pieces with her formidable claws. The legend of Black Annis persisted until the nineteenth century when Leicestershire mill girls bestowed upon her the name of "Cat Anna" the witch who lived in the cellars under the castle.
Quote of the month:
"The Egyptians have observed in the eyes of a cat, the encrease of the moonlight for with the Moone, they shine more fully at the full, and more dimly in the change and wain, and the male cat doth also vary his eyes with the Sunne; for when the Sunne ariseth, the apple of his eye is long; towards noone it is round, and the evening it cannot be seene at all, but the whole eye sheweth alike." - Historie of Foure-footed Beasts, Edward Topsell, 1607.
Did you know?
In New York in 1963, a Chinchilla Persian Longhair called Babyface and a Silver Persian Longhair called Nicodemus were married! The service was conducted by a Beagle and the Matron-of-Honour was another Persian cat!
on a cheek or a chin...
that is the way
for a day to begin!
a cuddle and a purr.
I have an alarm clock
that's covered in fur!
The Cat & The Moon
The cat went here and there
And the moon spun round like a top,
And the nearest kin of the moon
The creeping cat looked up.
Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For wander and wail as he would
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass,
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet
What better than call a dance?
Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn.
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
From moonlit place to place,
The sacred moon overhead
Has taken a new phase.
Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils
Will pass from change to change,
And that from round to crescent,
From crescent to round they range?
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
Alone, important and wise,
And lifts to the changing moon
His changing eyes.
W.B. Yeats (1865–1939)
In Japan a popular charm is a "beckoning" cat, and the following legend is attached to a cat shrine in the grounds of the temple known as Gotoku-ji.
This temple was originally a very poor one, no more than a thatched hut run by proverty stricken and half starved monks. The master priest had a cat of which he was fond, and shared with it such little food as he had.
One day the cat squatted by the roadside and when a half a dozen Samurai appeared on splendid horses, it looked up at them and raised one of its paws to its ear, as if it were beckoning to them. The noble cavaliers pulled up and, as the cat continued to beckon, they followed it into the temple.
Torrential rain forced them to stay for a while, so the priest gave them tea and expounded Buddhist doctrine.
Later, one of the Samurai, Lord Li, regularly visited the old priest to receive religious instruction from him. Eventually, Li endowed the temple with a large estate and it became the property of his family.
Visitors who pass under the temple's impressive gateways, walk through its broad avenues of towering trees and enjoy the beautifully laid out gardens, discover, near the cemetery of the Li family, the little shrine of the beckoning cat which still draws pilgrims from all parts of Tokyo.
There's No Plaice Like Home!
"Two Years ago the rightful owner of this cat discovered she was sharing its favours with three other households in the area. In all, four families were deluding themselves that it belonged to them. The cat apportioned its time with care and commendable fairness, slipping in and out daily for the odd snack or nap. When the extent of its infidelity was made public, a party was organised in the Square in its honour, merely exemplifying, I'm afraid, our secret admiration for the successful fraud." - Town Cats by John Web.
The cat. An Egyptian deity held in the greatest veneration. Herodtus (ii. 66) tells us that Diana, to avoid being molested by the giants, changed herself into a cat. The deity used to be represented with a cat's head on a human body. (Greek, ailouros, a cat.)
Six little mice sat down to spin;
Pussy passed by and she peeped in.
"What are you doing, my little men?"
"Weaving coats for gentlemen."
"Shall I come in and cut off your threads?"
"No, no, Mistress Pussy, you'd bite off our heads."
"Oh no, I'll not; I'll help you to spin."
"That may be so, but you don't come in."
The History of the Domesticated Cat Part II
Author: Denise Brixey
The Cat in Ancient Egypt
The birth of the domestic cat is thought to be in the flood plains of the Nile about 10,000 years ago. Evidence shows that area as being very fertile. People settled there to farm the land. The grain attracted mice, which in turn attracted wildcats. Soon, the Egyptians realized the value of these creatures. The cats also knew when they had a good thing. Being the smart, resourceful animals that they were (and still are), they hunted the mice, which were plentiful. They tolerated the humans then, as they do today, because they learned that an easier source of food supply was where the people were. The first real relationship, therefore, between the Egyptians and cats was one in which both parties took advantage of the other.
As evidenced in Egyptian drawings, statues, ornaments and paintings from about 4,000 years ago, the relationship between cats and Egyptians transformed from earlier accounts. This new alliance brought the cat from the outdoor hunter to being an indoor companion. Because of this change, Egyptians developed a deep affection and respect for cats, so much so, that they were known to be buried with their owners.
Mummified cats have taught us a great deal about the early-domesticated cat. For instance, all cats were similar to what we now refer to as the Abyssinian breed. When they were unwrapped we found them to be small, shorthaired cats with brownish 'ticked' coats.
Later, cats held an important status in ancient Egypt. It is common knowledge that the Egyptians worshipped cats as gods and that cats were sacred in Egypt. It was for this reason that anyone caught killing one was sentenced to death. One feline Egyptian Goddess was Mafdet. She was thought take the form of a panther and was known for killing vermin such as snakes and scorpions.
As much as the Egyptians treasured their cats, eventually, traders were able to transport them to Europe. Buddhist Monks brought them to Asia. Sailors also thought the cats brought good luck. On sailing ships, cats controlled the mice and rat population.
Over the next few months, we will be learning about the spread of these wondrous creatures and some of the curious thoughts that different cultures had on the cat.
Within that porch, across the way,
I see two naked eyes this night;
two eyes that neither shut nor blink,
searching my face with a green light.
But cats to me are strange, so strange,
I cannot sleep if one is near;
and though I'm sure I see those eyes,
I'm not sure a body's there!
W. H. Davies (1871 - 1940)
Why Cats Paint - A Theory of Feline Aesthetics.
In this lavishly illustrated and thoroughly researched book, Heather Busch and Burton Silver outline the many different aspects of feline creativity and offer a detailed examination of representative works from the best-known cat artists around the world.
Author Heather Busch & Burton Silver.
Publisher: Ten Speed Press, P.O. Box 7123, Berkeley, California, 94707, USA
Quote: "Only those who have taken the trouble to cultivate and study the cat can realise what an extraordinary intelligent and responsive creature he is." - Michael Joseph