T. S. Eliot and the magical cats


The naming of cats is a difficult matter. It isn’t just one of your holiday games. You may think at first I’m mad as a hatter. When I tell you a cat must have three different names…” – T.S. Eliot

Thomas Stearns Eliot (Sept. 26, 1888-Jan. 4 1965,) the famous dramatist, critic, and poet who won the 1948 Nobel Prize in literature wrote on the cat’s human-like temperament, behavior, and social disposition.

His book of light verse called “ Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats ” is a collection of imaginative poems which he shared with children.

Published in 1939, his written work on Felis catus (Linnaeus) was the basis of the successful long-running Broadway show: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cats.” After its closure in 2000 in the Winter Garden Theatre, “Cats” which widely appealed to children and adults alike became one of Great White Way’s most memorable theatre musicales.

The same cats are featured in the 6th Annual CFA-lams Cat Championship in Madison Square Garden in New York, New York which runs till the third week of October 2008. The endearing feline masterpieces are no different from those adored and whimsically described from Egyptian antiquities over the millennia.

In the cat exhibition, the calm aloof winner is Blade Runner, the Russian blue cat with a detached luminous look and seemingly independent, sometimes obstinate disposition. He is dubbed as the best in the show. With his colored award ribbon, he quietly sits still, perhaps to think of important things other than the vanity of winning.

The fluffy brown sleepy ball of fur with pampered chink pair of lazy eyes is called Rusty, the Persian cat. He curls up to take time for his extended nap, an average of 16 hours a day required by his species.

There is the costumed feline glamour with green standing plumage on her head, sporting that erect pair of large sensitive ears and mysterious worried gaze. Her name is Masquerade, the Sphynx cat. She is cared for by doting owner Sandra Alder.

Other notables in the show with remarkable soft manes, proud tails, and splendid names are Pocahontas, Baldwin, Renegade, Winter, Jay Jay, and Rizzo who wowed the feline lovers in the crowd. Nowhere to be found is the sly, agile, and conjuring Mr. Mistoffelees, one of T.S. Eliot’s beloved cats. (Photo Credits: jonathanmoreau; ChipEast/Reuters; FrankFranklinII/AFP; http://www.faber.com.uk; yokviv; fofurasfelinas) =0=

When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name

The Rum Tum Tugger is a terrible bore:
When you let him in, then he wants to be out;
He’s always on the wrong side of every door,
And as soon as he’s at home, then he’d like to get about.
He likes to lie in the bureau drawer,
But he makes such a fuss if he can’t get out.”

Well I never!
Was there ever
A cat so clever
As Magical Mr. Mistoffelees
!” —T.S. Eliot


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