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November, the eleventh month of the year in the Gregorian calendar. It takes its name from novem, the Latin word for nine. In the early Roman calendar, November was the ninth month. Because July was named for Julius Caesar and August for Augustus Caesar, the Roman Senate offered to name the eleventh month for Tiberius Caesar. He refused modestly, saying, "What will you do if you have thirteen emperors?" Originally there were 30 days in November, then 29, then 31. From the time of Augustus, it has had 30 days.

November comes between autumn and winter. In the North Temperate regions during November, the trees are bare, and the dead leaves on the earth have lost the brilliant color they had in October. Soft snow seldom hides the bareness of the fields, but the grays and browns of the landscapes are sometimes relieved by delightful days of hazy sunshine. The Anglo-Saxons referred to November as "the wind month" and sometimes "the blood month," probably because during this period they killed animals for their winter meat.

November symbols. The Topaz is the November birthstone, and the special flower of the month is the chrysanthemum.

November Quotations:

November woods are bare and still; November days are clear and bright;
Each noon burns up the morning's chill, The morning's snow is gone by night.

Helen Hunt Jackson

The wild November comes at last
Beneath a veil of rain;
The night wind blows its folds aside,
Her face is full of pain.

Richard Henry Stoddard

November's sky is chill and drear, November's leaf is red and sear. - Sir Walter Scott

Autumn wins you best by this, its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay. - Robert Browning

Bonfire Night

Remember, remember the 5th of November... Bonfire night (UK). Before, during and after any celebration such as Bonfire Night there will be bonfires, bangers and fireworks. Will you know where your pets are? Dogs and Cats are particularly vulnerable at times like this. If you have pets keep them indoors, check on them regularly and give them plenty of reassurance.

November the 5th is on a Monday this year, most people will have their bonfire and fireworks over the weekend on the 3rd and 4th. Please keep your cat in, if the cat is outside it may be frightened, run away and get lost, or worse get injured. Keep your cat indoors, keep the curtains drawn and play music, or keep the radio or Television on. Remember fireworks can and probably will be set off late into the night and for days before and after November the 5th. Don't fuss your cat any more than usual, or the cat may sense something is wrong.

Please remember to check your bonfire for Hedgehogs before lighting, they may be hibernating inside.

Bonfire Night is not the only occasion when Fireworks will be used, there are many more such as: July 4th American Independence Day. If you know there is going to be any type of firework display please keep your pets indoors for the duration of the display.

A Communicative Cat

The intelligence of Calvin was something phenomenal, in his rank of life. He established a method of communicating his wants, and even some of his sentiments; and he could help himself in many ways. There was a furnace register in a retired room, where he used to go when he wished to be alone, that he always opened when he desired more heat; but never shut it, any more than he shut the door after himself... I hesitate a little to speak of his capacity for friendship and the affectionateness of his nature, for I know from his own reserve that he would not care to have it much talked about. We understood each other perfectly, but we never made any fuss about it; when I spoke his name and snapped my fingers, he came to me; when I returned home at night , he was pretty sure to be waiting for me near the gate, and would rise and saunter along the walk, as if his being there was purely accidental - so shy was he commonly of showing feelings.

My Summer In A Garden - Charles Dudley Warner (1829-1900)

Not only do feline friends communicate their needs famously; they do also have an uncanny ability to sense our moods without words. Somehow, a favourite cat will know where it is needed and settle comfortingly on the lap of an unhappy human. There it will stay until the constant sound of purrs pushes away even the most troublesome thoughts from the human mind.

Quotes of the month:

"However warm the saloon fire, however wet the deck, however rainy and stormy the weather, if the Captain is up on the deck, there the cat must be also." - Elinor Mordaunt

"Unseen they suffer, unheard they cry, in agony they linger, in loneliness they die." - Unknown (Do you know who is responsible for this quote?)

Cat Snip:

In the 9th century, King Henry the 1st of Saxony decreed that the fine for killing a cat should be sixty bushels of corn.

In early 16th century England, a visitor to an English home would always kiss the family cat to bring good luck.

Poem - A Stately Friend

Stately, kindly, lordly friend
here to sit by me, and turn
    glorious eyes that smile and burn,
golden eyes, love's lustrous meed,
    on the golden page I read.

All your wonderous wealth of hair
    dark and fair,
silken-shaggy, soft and bright
    as the clouds and beams of night,
pays my reverent hand's caress
    back with friendlier gentleness.

Algeron C. Swinburne (1837-1909)

The Captain's Cat

No ship in days gone by would set sail without a goodly cat or two amongst the crew to keep the mice from mincing through the grain store.

Thursday - 11th July 1754

A most tragic incident fell out of this day at sea. While the ship was under sail, but making as will appear no great way, a kitten, one of four of the feline inhabitants of the cabin, fell from the window into the water; an alarm was immediately given to the captain, who was then upon deck, and received it with utmost concern and many bitter oaths. He immediately gave orders to the steersman in favour of the poor thing, as he called it; the sails were instantly slackened, and all hands, as the phrase is, employed to recover the poor animal.

I was, I own, extremely surprised at all this: less indeed at the captain's extreme tenderness than at his conceiving any possibility of success; for if puss had had nine thousand instead of nine lives, I concluded they had all been lost. The boatswain, however, had more sanguine hopes, for having stripped himself of his jacket, breeches and shirt, he leaped boldly into the water, and to my great astonishment, in a few minutes returned to the ship, bearing the motionless animal in his mouth, Nor was this, I observed, a matter of such great difficulty as it appeared to my ignorance, and possibly may seem to that of my fresh-water reader. The kitten was now exposed to air and sun on the deck, where its life, of which it retained no symptoms, was despaired of by all...

But as I have, perhaps, a little too wantonly endeavoured to raise the tender passions of my readers with this narrative, I should think myself unpardonable if I concluded it without giving them the satisfaction of hearing that the kitten at last recovered, to the great joy of the captain...

A Voyage To Lisbon - Henry Fielding (1707-1754)

An oldie but goldie!

A house becomes a home when it has a cat or two on the mat. Whether the resident puss is indoors or out, it has an ability to breathe an ubiquitously feline feel all around the house. Returning at the end of a busy day, nothing says 'home' quite so well as a greeting from a contented house cat.

Did you know?

Ratty Cats! Cats have long been used as superior quality rat catchers. It was once a custom in Britain to build a cat and a rat together into the structure of a house. The cat would be placed in a predatory position over the rat and the home builders believed this would guard the house against an infestation of rats, although a living cat would probably have been a better bet!

Florence Nightingale had a managerie of sixty cats, all named after famous people.

Novelist Ernest Hemingway also adored felines and lived with forty cats. Their descendants still roam the grounds of Hemingway's Florida home, which is now a tourist attraction.

Cat Glossary:

Stud Tail - Accumulation of greasy secretion around the tail area, especially in unneutered tomcats.

What causes “stud tail” in a cat?

Oil from the sebaceous glands.

Cats and dogs have an area at the base of their tails that is dense with sebaceous glands that produce a waxy or oily yellowish secretion. When these secretions accumulate the hair may become matted and the skin may crust and scale. In rare cases, the area is prone to secondary infection from bacteria. The condition is termed feline tail gland hyperplasia, but is commonly referred to as "stud tail" because the condition is prevalent in uncastrated males.

The condition is not highly pathologic, and usually is more of a cosmetic nuisance to owners and cats. The fur in the involved area should be clipped and washed with medicated antiseborrheic shampoo, which may contain benzoyl peroxide or sulfur-salicylic acid; your veterinarian can provide you with these shampoos. Hopefully the cat will resume grooming the cleaned area and that should prevent recurrence. If your cat does not keep the area well groomed, then you should gently use a comb to treat the fur and to disperse the oils that accumulate.

Systemic medications are rarely needed to deal with the problem.

Cat Haiku

      A small Mraw gets your
      attention, I have chosen
      you to be my slave.

Names & Naming

Choosing a name for your kitten is no simple matter. To quote the nineteenth-century author, Samuel Butler: "They say that the test of literary power is whether a man can write an inscription. I say, can he name a kitten? And by this test I am condemned, for I cannot". Following are some ideas to set you thinking.

Beatrix: World-famous English children's writer Beatrix Potter created numorous cats in her books, plump and cuddlesome creatures with wide, inoccent eyes.

Bianca: The Italian word meaning 'white', an appealing name for a fluffy, pure white, female kitten.

Cherub: "For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger", wrote the poet Christopher Smart, whose cat Jeoffrey stayed with him in Bedlam, the notorious London lunatic asylum.

Fizzy: For a frisky kitten with a champagne personality: lively, bubbly, and never, ever still.

Galanthis: The mythical handmaid who assisted at the birth of Hercules and was transformed by the irate Fates into a cat.

Harrison: In honour of Harrison Weir, artist, horticulturist, and organizer of the first ever British cat show, held at Crystal Palace, London in 1871.

Hokusai: A Japanese artist ho painted delicate and detailed cats. Suitable for an elegant Oriental kitten.

Howell: Prince Howell the Good of Wales introduced a law in AD 936, which set the value of a new-born kitten at one penny, rising to tuppence when the kitten had killed its first mouse.

Mrs. Pipchin: A character in Charles Dickens's novel, Dombey and on, who owned an elderly cat.

Pattipaws: One of T.S. Eliot's real cats, who should not be confused with the fictional felines featured in Old Pussum's Book of Practical Cats.

Rumpel: A nickname given to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's cat. His full name was "The Most Noble the Archduke Rumperstilzchen, Marcus Macbum, Earl Tomnefuagne, Baron Raticide, Waowhler, and Scratch", which is rather long for every day use!

Septimus: Lierally, it means seventh. A name to use for the last kitten in a large litter. A female could be called Octavia (eighth).

Closest Relations

The wildcat, Felis silvestris, is the domestic cat's closest relative. Until recently, taxonomists have failed to agree on the significance of differences within this species of small, lone hunters. there are visual differences between varieties, with coat colour and texture varying according to habitat, and there are also differences in temperament between the wildcats of Africa and those of Europe. In Somalia, for example, African wildcats live close to human settlements, even scavenging within the boundaries of villages. In Britain, Scottish wildcats are virtually never seen, although some have adopted to hunting the plentiful supply of rabbits that are found on agricultural land.

Recent studies carried out by Professor Eric Hurley at Cape Town University in South Africa have indicated that there are distinct genetic differences between the European wildcat and the African wildcat. The study suggests that although physically similar, they diverged into two different species hundreds of thousands of years ago. Genetic studies are likely to reveal that all the regional varieties of European wildcat are isolated populations of a single species.

Distinct Descendant

The studies of the African wildcat have revealed that it has almost identical 'genetic fingerprints' to the domestic cat, giving sound evidence that the domestic cat is an emigrant from Africa.

Sufficient subtle differences remain between the genes of African wildcats and domestic cats to identify an individual as one or the other, even when populations are mixed. Experts have disagreed whether the scavenging African wildcats and adapting Scottish wildcats are full-blooded wildcats or wildcat-domestic hybrids: genetic testing may answer this.

Unlike other domestic animals, the cat is self-domesticted: it chose to live in close proximity to people because it was in its interests to do so, a natural selfishness that remains at the core of domestic cat behaviour to this day. This self-domestication was relatively recent, occurring long after we had domesticated the dog. The cat's ancestors needed specific psychological and physiological traits to help them infiltrate the new and unique ecological niche of the human settlement. Under the altered environmental pressures, both physical and behavioural changes occurred, creating the most successful ever of all the species of cat: the domestic cat.

Recommended book: Cat Haiku

Author: Deborah Coates, illustrations by Sheila Moxley.

A cat's unneutered thoughts, expressed in poetry. Laugh till you shed.

"So you want to know what's behind my Sphinx-like stare and Mona Lisa smile? Now you can find out, because this book is more than just the cat's miaow - it's the purr-fect cat-alogue of feline wit and wisdom (as it should be; after all I wrote it!). It will tell you what I'm really thinking, and bring a grin - or a grimace - to your pitifully whiskerless face. So get a grip on your upholstery. and let the Haiku begin." - A Cat

What is Haiku? Haiku is a three line, unrhymed Japanese verse form of five, seven, and five syllables respectively. Here's one from the book:

      Oh, good. You're home. I
      Celebrate joyously with
      A rousing ear-twitch.

Hardback - 120 pages.

ISBN: 0712679537

Published by: The Random House Group Limited, 20 Vauxhall Bridge Raod, London, United Kingdom, SW1V 2SA.

And finally...

Quote: "The cat makes himself the companion of your hours of solitude, melancholy and toil." - Théophile Gautier

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