World Cat Day is on August 8th and it seems a good time to celebrate our bench-loving feline friends with a Cat Map of the World.
What better guest editor could I choose than Meredith, who comes highly recommended from Felineeditors.com? She has previously edited both Mathematica Felinica and The Litter Tray Times, as well as the St. Helier Benches and the piano bench story here at Benchsite.
Meredith: I would like to make it clear that I am not on a bench. I prefer a soft double bed with a good thick duvet. Most cats do.
I'm trying to start out on a positive note here because I had a few problems when Meredith edited my St. Helier post. I won't go into detail but suffice to say that Meredith went off to have a nap and I had to finish the post by myself. That won't happen here, I'm sure.
So Meredith, what advice can you give cat lovers about benches for World Cat Day?
Meredith: Get a cat. Get a bench. Go away. Once the cat has had a nice kip on the bench, put down some food. Go away. Let the cat eat the food in peace.
Yes, I'm sure cat owners understand this.
Meredith: There's no such thing as a cat owner.
Yes, of course you're right.
Meredith: I am always right.
|photo by Kelly Riley|
Meredith, this is a picture of you. There is no bench in this picture and it is irrelevant to the story. Please will you stick with cat bench images. By that I don't mean just cats on benches. There are plenty of those. I mean actual cat benches.
Meredith: Like this?
No! Not at all like this.
Meredith: Maybe more like this?
No. These are lovely tartan cats but this is not a cat bench.
Here is a proper Cat Bench from sculptor Don Drumm, who makes beautiful metal sculptures, some of which are cat benches:
See what I mean, Meredith? The cats aren't just on the bench; they are the bench.
Meredith: I don't think I'm in the swing of it just yet.
Here's another one. It's from the Willow Glen Elementary School in San Jose, California.
And here's a French one. It's the Toulouse Lautrec cat bench celebrating Le Chat Noir, the black cat nightclub that was so popular in Paris in the 1880s.
Meredith: Before my time.
Well, here you go then: a brightly coloured mosaic cat bench from Dordrecht in Holland.
Meredith: I steer clear of the Low Countries. I never feel at home in a place where you might get your feet wet.
Meredith: I thought you'd never ask.
Alley Cat here has found himself a pleasant spot in front of a library in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Yes, but this isn't a cat bench, is it?
Meredith: I'm trying to set the scene here with sophisticated city cats. This angora cat is in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
|Angora Cat 1937, Morris Hirschfield|
Cats can be quite happy in cities.
They're fine in the suburbs too; some cats are great commuters.
I doubt very much if cats like commuting. Do you think we could see a bench at some point?
Meredith, this is a cat by a bench. It is not a cat bench. Although Maxi is lovely, this is not the kind of picture we want for World Cat Day.
Here is another picture of Maxi. It shows his true character as a cat of a relaxed nature.
This is a cat under a bench. It is not a cat bench. We should be showing actual cat benches.
I am having difficulty in seeing the point of a cat bench that does not have a cat on it.
It has a cat on it. The painted cat is an integral part of the bench. That's what I mean by a Cat Bench for the purposes of this post.
The words narrow and minded come to mind.
OK, I'll try again. Here is a bench dedicated to black cats.
Or chats noirs, if you want to put it that way.
I hope we're not going to get hung up on fur colour. That's what people do. They paint their living room and want a cat to match the carpet.
I don't think that's going to happen here.
It already has. Here's my friend Suu Kii, who perfectly matches the garden swing.
|photo by Helen Danby|
I see what you mean. She looks splendid. But that's beside the point . . .
Mungo's cat Abbey has the most gorgeous pink cream fur.
A human friend of mine took a picture of Abbey to her hairdresser and demanded to have her hair highlighted like Abbey's fur.
If I can just cut in here . . .
My friend Mackie has excellent fur as well.
|photo by Joan Waddleton|
Meredith, we need to show some cat benches here. That is the point of this post.
Abbey never cared for benches.
Nor did Bertie for that matter. He preferred picnic tables.
George prefers beds.
OK. Here is Regan, who seems to be sitting on a fur bench in Victorian times.
I don't know Regan as I didn't live in Victorian times.
This isn't quite what I had in mind . . .
My friend Cotton was put on a bench.
|photo by Joanna Michalak|
He had to claw his way off.
|photo by Joanna Michalak|
Really, Meredith, this show of your friends has got to stop!
This French cat doesn't like benches either. He's under the bench, relaxing on the gravel. Even gravel is better than a bench.
But this is a post about benches, Meredith. I think you've misread the situation.
You want benches?
Boutros Boutros was a peacekeeper I think, so just to keep the peace, I'm going to consider a church pew as a bench.
Good. Just remember, cats are the crowning glory of the internet.
|photo by Joanna Michilak|
This is my friend Dolly, duly crowned.
Dolly is gorgeous and I'm delighted that the internet has cats on it. But I would really like to show some of the lovely cat benches I've found. That's if you can stop putting up pictures of yourself and your friends.
Does the phrase Talk To The Paw mean anything to you?
You've done this before, Meredith. You were rude to me in the St. Helier post. But this time I'm going to bounce right back.
Are these cats by any chance bouncing?
Indeed they are. At http://cat-bounce.com you can choose a cat and make it bounce. You can even make it rain cats
You have reached a new low, Seashell.
I know. But I digress.
Lovely, but one black cat is too conventional for my tastes.
What about two cats then?
No. And there's no bench.
What about a woman reading on a bench with a dog and a cat?
Well done, Meredith! You're social distancing.
Great for sharpening claws.
OK, what about this shabby chic miniature cat bench?
I wouldn't be able to stretch out on this bench.
You might not. But there are some very small cats around . . .
You seem to be getting off the subject here, Seashell. This isn't a post about size, is it?
I agree. Shall we stick to showing cat benches?
You may remember this book bench from my World Book Day post. It nicely combines the affinity between cats and books and benches.
This cat is outside the Broughty Ferry Library in Scotland. He seems to be running toward the book.
|Malcolm McCrow at www.mccrow.org.uk|
No, he's running toward the earth under those trees. I'll say no more.
People often find cats' intentions a bit of a puzzle. This is a one thousand piece jigsaw puzzle from a painting by Francien Westering; it was photographed by jigsaw fanatic Leonisha for her Flickr photostream.
It's cats on a bench though, did you notice that? You're breaking your own rules here; you said you wanted cat benches.
Indeed I do. Cats and benches go together like, well, mice and cheese.
Interesting. One of these cats seems to be pretending to be a mouse. I can see some advantages to that.
I'm sure you can.
These two cats are at either end of a bench on Moor Common in Luton.
Their sculptor, Friedel Buecking, says they are not just wary of each other but also uneasy about a small creature in the middle of the bench which could be a baby dragon.
Cats like wooden benches because the wood reminds them of trees for sharpening claws.
Only when there's no expensive sofa within reach.
This wooden cat is very happy on his wooden bench.
Some of these cats are wearing silly costumes, though. I don't approve of that.
Meredith, you have been known to wear a hat at times.
Only under duress.
I hope you're not going to get into the cat bearding thing. Are you?
I know what you mean, Meredith. It's that thing where people suddenly realise their cat can become a beard. Like this:
Don't even think about it.
I'll get on with the story of cat benches.
As well as benches, cats have an affinity with baskets.
Here are my friends Benny and Boo in a basket. I think their owner ought to fork out for a bigger basket.
|photo by Kelly Riley|
My friend Mills preferred her trug to any of the benches in the garden.
Mind you, she rejected a lot of baskets before she finally settled on this one.
We've got work to do here. I wish you'd quit arguing.
Meredith, I am getting really fed up with you now. You have put in so many pictures of yourself and your friends that I haven't been able to show the cat benches I collected.
|photo by Kelly Riley|
I know, I know. I have confused you with someone who cares.
But we need to work together here. It's no good giving me the cold shoulder.
|©AC Manley at acmanley.wordpress.com/|
A snow cat. Very funny.
My friends Rosie and Melissa enjoy their seat in the conservatory. Though I would like to point out that this is not, strictly speaking, a bench.
I would like to see at least one picture of a cat bench.
No can do. How about a self portrait?
What you have proven, Seashell, is that very few cats prefer benches. In the whole of this post there are only a couple of cats on benches and none of them are there by choice. They have been put there for photo opportunities by people who believe cats prefer benches when in fact they prefer just about anything else.
Meredith, I found you difficult to work with, as ever, but thank you for sticking with me this time. No catnaps, no sneaking off, no disappearing to get snacks. You did really well.
|photo by Kelly Riley|
I've had it with cats. They're too difficult to work with.
Next time my guest editor is going to be a dog.
The cat shouting about benches at the start of the story is my cat Tilly. She is 11 years old and prone to getting her own way in pretty much everything.
The pretty cobby body cat on the wooden bench lives in Yarmouth, Isle of Wight and was photographed in 2013.
The Cat Map of the World is by Michael at ArtPause in Coventry, UK. He makes contemporary art and canvas prints in all sorts of interesting ways, for example maps of the world, countries, states, cities and yes, cat maps. The Cat Map of the World comes in bright colours, like this one, and in natural cat colours too. Michael's shop is at www.etsy.com/shop/ArtPause
Meredith is modelled by two cats, one of whom is my own cat Melissa. The other Meredith is Boo, from Bend, Oregon. Melissa and Boo posed for the original cat post about St. Helier. Melissa, like Naomi Campbell, is not prepared to get out of bed for less than ten thousand dollars a day. That puts her out of my price range so I used the same pictures as before.
If you like Meredith's style of editing and you don't mind cats, see what she did to my post about piano benches.
Anyone who has cats on the bed will recognise what happens to people when there are two large cats in a double bed. The delightful print is called Night Night and it's from Sara Pulver at www.etsy.com/shop/3crows
Jane Paludanus is the girl who keeps changing human heads to animal heads. This is her, the Garden Cat, sitting on a bench, in the garden of her old home. I'm not sure where that home is, but Jane lives in the Netherlands now. She misses her old home and felt quite emotional about all the memories stirred up by this picture. https://www.flickr.com/photos/janepaludanus/6464905013/
The Don Drumm bench was made by sculptor Don Drumm, who, in conjunction with Cricket Forge, makes a variety of sculptural pieces for galleries, gifts, and gardens. The cat bench shown here was photographed by Rachel at Ravenwood Curio Shoppe in Jackson, New Hampshire. Jackson is one of those rare places which has its own covered bridge. Rachel has a photostream full of gorgeous images. She loves autumn and there are a lot of beautiful pictures of New Hampshire and pumpkins and Halloween. There are beaches and beach house and surfing and all manner of interesting things at http://www.flickr.com/photos/lehcar1477
The colourful bus stop cat bench is in the Willow Glen neighbourhood of San Jose, California. It was made in 2006 by the pupils of Willow Glen Elementary School and can be seen at http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMDN8X_Striped_Cat_Bench_San_Jose_CA
I found the Toulouse Lautrec cat bench on Flickr. The photostream is by someone who describes himself as a point-and-click photographer. Fine with me. He has an interesting photostream and the very long title of weshallmeetonthebeautifulshore at http://www.flickr.com/photos/18417558@N00/
Alley Cat is a sculpture by Judy Kensley McKie (2005) at www.artworksfoundry.com. It is sited near the Valente Library at Wellington-Harrington in Cambridge, Massachusetts and was photographed by ArtFan70 at Flickr. ArtFan's photostream is at http://www.flickr.com/photos/artfan70
Maxi was a beautiful white cat His Excellency and I had in London and brought with us to Paradise Island. Maxi was a huge, joyous cat who was fond of sunbathing and loved life. He had a penchant for baked potatoes and he once devoured a whole barbecued chicken. He lived to age 18 and died happily in the garden.
The painted bench is by Portland, Oregon author Christine Davis from Lighthearted Press. Christine writes books for animal lovers, looks after animals herself, and provides help for people who are bereaved after losing a much-loved pet. She looked after a semi-feral cat called Sammy for years. Sammy disappeared in 2011 and the bench with the painted cat on the back is made in his memory. Christine's work can be seen at www.lightheartedpress.blogspot.com
The cat on the New York subway bench is from Subway 6, one of a collection of vintage subway photographs by Lisa Futterman, who lives and works in Brooklyn. She loves to go out with her camera and capture unique moments around New York City and she also has an obsession with photographing county fairs. Her fine art photographs can be seen at http://www.etsy.com/shop/pixamatic
The Maison des Chat Noirs bench and the A Cat is a Cat book bench are both from Bob Dodson, the Art Shaman, who creates digital art, woodwork, bowl turning, ceramics and all kinds of objects from mixed media. He has a Cat Gallery and reports that his cats have recently learned to type, which could create havoc on his website at http://www.artshaman.com A Cat is a Cat appeared in the World Book Day post in April.
Suu Kii lives with Helen Danby, who took this lovely picture of her new garden swing. I don't know if Suu Kii just happened to be there, perfectly matching the colour of the swing, or if the swing was chosen to match Suu Kii. Maybe Helen popped into a garden centre with a picture of Suu Kii and asked if they had a swing to match the colour of the cat.
Mackie is a beautiful pure-bred cat who one day walked into the home of my friends Joan and Harry and demanded to live with them. After some weeks, Joan located Mackie's original owner and it was established that Mackie had left his perfectly good home and wandered quite a few miles away to find Joan and Harry. Happily for Joan and Harry, the original owner agreed to leave Mackie with them and there he has remained. However, Joan and Harry no longer go on holidays or do anything at all which might cause Mackie to decide to walk away and choose another home.
It's true, Burlington Bertie preferred picnic tables to benches; they're higher and you can get a better view. Bertie came to us from the Cats Protection League when he was four. He had been terrorised by children and was full of fear. But he turned out to be a terrific little character, loving and clever and funny. He was also an excellent traveller and loved the car. And if you like picnic benches, let Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly, be your guide.
Regan is one of many Victorian cat prints from Donna, who sells anthropomorphic animal art prints. It was a popular art form in Victorian times. Donna's shop is at www.etsy.com/shop/animalfancy
Cotton used to live with Joanna Michalak in Southampton, UK. He is one of three cats in her household. Lucky her! Now she has Dolly, a one year old Ragdoll. Dolly has everything a cat could possibly want or need, including a very nice red pajama onesie.
The beautiful French cat was photographed by Aurel Grone and is available on Wiki Commons at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Katze_in_beaufort-en-argonne.JPG. I can't tell you what a pleasure it is to see people putting good quality photographs in the Commons.
Maxi and Abbey shared the same house but it would be putting it mildly to say they were not good friends. And then along came a wiry little stray who climbed in through the roof window and made himself at home. The little black cat who restored peace in our house was named Boutros Boutros, after the United Nations peacemaker at the time.
Cat Bounce is an opportunity to get cats to bounce. I'm not sure why, but maybe that's not the right question. You just pick a cat and make it bounce or spin and when you get bored with that, you can make it rain cats. It's all at http://cat-bounce.com
Yah Benches make mosaic concrete benches. What a find! http://www.flickr.com/photos/yaybenches/ They're enthusiastic about the art making process and each bench they make is done with a lot of laughter. They have even had to make a rule, "No laughing while moving heavy concrete!!" And they say "Yay!!" all the time. They made the clever, lovely Cats, Mice and Cheese bench. And yes, there is a cat pretending to be a mouse, which no doubt has serious advantages for the cat.
The two cats on the bench in Luton are a wood sculpture by Friedel Buecking, at www.friedelbueckingwoodsculptor.co.uk Friedel's public bench sculptures are often commissioned for particular sites to become part of the landscape. They invite people to rest and to contemplate the environment. Some of his bench sculptures are carved in one piece from large oak trunks and can weigh over a ton.
Thanks to Helen Danby for sending me Cat Bounce. Should you feel the need, you can select a cat and make it bounce up and down to your heart's content. You don't have to worry about being cruel: it's only a virtual cat. Should you get bored of the stripey cats bouncing, you can introduce colourful cats raining down. It sort of depends on how desperate you are for something to do. http://cat-bounce.com
The Shabby Chic bench with cats at both ends is a miniature made by Ana Correia in Portugal. Ana is a nurse, amateur pianist, artisan and miniature lover. Her inspiration for handmade miniatures is vintage and shabby style, books, travelling and all the good things in life. Ana's shop is at www.etsy.com/shop/mycupofteaminiatures
The tiny cat on the bench is a stoneware miniature by Sue Scamihorn in Wabash, Indiana. It's called That cat Won't Stay Off My Bench. She has a dog who won't stay off her bench as well; you can see him on the Benchsite big and small and cute and tiny post The cat is just two inches tall and the bench is three inches. Besides stoneware Sue does garden miniatures, wall spots, whistles, deocrative pottery and jewelry. Her shop is at www.etsy.com/shop/suescami
Millie was a tiny rescue cat we got from the RSPCA in 2008. She was 13 years old at the time and had lost her home for wetting the carpet. She had a tumour growing in her abdomen but despite this, she loved boisterous games and someone had taught her to fetch toys. She played an impressive game of football and could leap high into the air to catch feathers and stuffed mice. She was a good traveller and spent happy week-ends with us. She died age 15 and is much missed.
Cat bearding is one of those strange internet things which occur when people realise they can post pictures of themselves doing weird stuff. So here are a bunch of people using their cats as beards. Yes, it's scary. Yes, it's weird. And yes, if you're a cat owner you're probably going to try it. http://www.buzzfeed.com/summeranne/the-25-most-epic-cat-beards-of-all-time
David's cool cat beard took ten takes and I'm sure he's right in saying that getting a good cat beard photo is harder than it looks. David is from California and his photostream is a riot of glorious colour. He does terrific closeups of all kinds of stuff - lemons, flowers, insects and yes, cats. He belongs to every Cat Group going on Flickr. I'm addicted. Check out his photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/toosour/with/8811087555/
The snow cat is a photograph by AC Manley, who says One day of snow and London grinds to halt with the suspension of almost all public transport. Most people had to take the day off work and build cats. AC Manley describes himself as a creative in London. A selection of his photographs in different countries includes people, a colourful door, rubbish, a housing estate and a motion sickness bag. You can have a look at www.acmanley.wordpress.com/
Melissa and Rosie were sisters, age 10, when they came to us in 2010. They had been starved and neglected but were both affectionate and trusting. At first they stuck together:
After a few months they sat together but apart in the sunroom. Then, as little Rosie gained confidence, they became more and more independent of each other. Eventually they wanted nothing to do with each other and went their own ways. When Rosie died, Melissa held the position of every cat's dream: a much-adored and very spoiled Only Cat.
If for some strange reason you prefer dogs to cats, you can sniff out some excellent dog benches at http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/dog-bench-days-of-august.html
'My other pet is a dog' is a tea-towel I purchased in Greece. There are quite a few tea-towels about Greek Cats around in Greece. And lots of Greek benches too.
Apologies to non-cat readers who probably find this post too cat-centric. If you don't like it, all I can say is Talk To The Paw.