Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: By now readers know that it is hard for me to pass up a photo of a puss with a spotty nose and this guy had the ultimate in spotted-kitty face decoration. Not only does he have a big black nose spot, but that black spot on his chin is very deftly placed and makes him a pretty handsome gentleman.

This dignified fellow is identified as the mascot of the Oregon Humane Society in Portland – Portland is a place I have often mentioned as a El Dorado of superb early photos. (Some Portland posts include, Felix on Parade and most recently, Cat’s Eye on Parade.) This one appears to date a bit later than most of my pics, but has that good Portland photo spirit nonetheless. I have always enjoyed stories about the felines in the work force and those working kits (and their kissin’ cousins the mascots) make up a sub-genre of cat photos and tales. From Old Tom the Post Office Cat to Tom the Fire Boat Cat I have uncovered great stories of kitties in the working world.

Then there are those cats we all know, who reside in shops, vet’s offices and like Butch, make a permanent home of a place that is meant to be a way station for animals. Those employed to catch mice (and, um, larger rodents) in the bodegas and deli’s of New York City, are acquired for self-evident reasons like the more glorified working friends mentioned above. While I have no doubt that they perform this service admirably they do not seem to enjoy an especially notable status. (I have been tempted to ask if I could adopt one or another at times if I felt they were particularly unloved, but that will be another story.) Other workaday cats, however, are clearly beloved – I think of an especially lovely if aloof calico who presided over the Alabaster bookstore in Union Square for many years. Perhaps it won’t surprise readers that a great cat is enough to entice me into repeated visits to an establishment. There is a lovely striped cat who flies below the radar in a health food store I frequent who I often catch snoozing by a space heater behind the counter.

The stories of Butch and those like him who somehow either endear themselves so thoroughly to the staff of an adoption agency, or in some cases are special, but not easily adoptable for some reason, are on my mind today. How strange it must be for them to be the resident kitty in a place where endless cats and other animals come and go, or stay briefly. Years ago my vet had several permanent residents – one I remember was a sweet, fat fellow, who had a respiratory issue that made him sound as if he was constantly saying, “Peep!” Another one I remember coming to sit with me and Otto or Zippy, whoever was screaming bloody murder in the cat carrier at the moment, as if to both investigate and offer a paw in comradeship to the visiting kitty. (Understandably, this didn’t go over so well with my guys.) The current vet has a few residents who all seem to be of sound body, but seem to keep mostly to themselves – although they might demand a chin rub or two while I am paying the bill.  I wonder about each of their stories. For now we’ll salute Butch and his comrades, as well as the fine work of the generations of human folk, who find homes for our footloose feline friends.



Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: Photos of cat mascots on ships are becoming a sub-genre to my collection. Prior incarnations have included: Tom the Fire Boat CatAhoy! Cats at Sea and Mascot – U.S.S. Custodian. I find them utterly irresistible, the beloved cats of the sea, and this ship clearly had a full menagerie on board! The U.S.S. New York seems to have a current incarnation of very recent vintage, so it is hard to know from what era this version hails – although the style of the photo postcard makes me think the 1920’s. The postcard is unused with no writing.

The simply named Puss, gray tuxedo, has his back to us – or perhaps is giving that adorable fluffy pup, Kaiser Stamps for Short, a look before starting something with him, like a bop on the nose. Lady, like her name is clearly elegant and above the fray, also turned away – and then there is the goat, Buck, who I really love. Whose idea was it to bring a goat on board? Buck and Kaiser are the only ones looking at the camera. Buck, like Lady, appears to wear a collar – a goat with a collar, does that happen often? He would seem to be a smallish goat from what we can see. I can’t help but wonder how hard it was to get them to all pose together.

In theory, I find goats charming. I say in theory because I have never attempted to get too close to one and I understand they can be temperamental. When I was in Tibet years ago I saw tiny, doglike goats, the size of Scotties, all over the place. Of course they were extremely sure footed and would run up and down the mountains, and we often saw small herds of them belonging to farmers. I believe that they make cheese from milking those tiny goats. The goats always seemed to be high spirited and romping around. Cute though they were I wasn’t risking injury by goat while hiking on the Tibetan plateau so I did keep my distance. (It should also be noted that in Tibet I found very few cats and many, happy dogs. The dogs hung out at the monasteries and the monks would feed them tsampa, made of barley flour and yak butter rolled together. Perhaps that diet is why there aren’t many cats.)

The notion of mascots is interesting – animals bringing luck and ships often sport them, hence my growing photo collection. I wonder where that tradition came from originally. I read that inanimate things were the first mascots, such as mastheads on ships. It then morphed into living animals. I happen to be of the general opinion that you need all the luck you can get on a ship. With four mascots the U.S.S. New York was taking no chances.