LITTLE KNOWN FELINE SAYINGS
Sarah Hartwell

A CAT, A CAT, MY KINGDOM FOR A CAT

Attributed to an English King (possibly King Richard III) after discovering a bad mouse problem in his army camp. He reputedly held up his nibbled undergarments and the remaining crumbs from a loaf of bread and declared his overpowering need for a good ratter. "Cat", and the hint of a mouse plague, evidently did not sound regal enough and the saying is now reported as "A horse, a horse "

CRY HAVOC AND LET SLIP THE CATS OF WAR

This originated as a cry of the Roman armies. Huge cats (Great Maines or Pusstiffs) were released in the heat of battle to fight alongside their masters. However most soon got bored and went over to the opposing army's camp to see if there was anything worth investigating or eating. Many armies were crippled by sneezing attacks caused by cat allergy and the Romans swiftly triumphed. The saying was later corrupted into " the mogs of war " to reflect the great affection the Romans had for their huge feline allies ("mog" or "moggy" is an affectionate term for a cat) and has been misreported due to historians who misheard it as " dogs of war ".

ONE SMALL STEP FOR A MAN, ONE GIANT LEAP FOR CATKIND?

Armstrong's original first words as he stepped onto the moon, preceded by a small, curious tabby cat in desperate need of a litter tray. The cat had evidently heard that the moon was made of cheese and envisaged a huge, unexploited mouse population. After the cat had done its business and gone back to sleep, Armstrong had another go. The first footprint on the moon is, in fact, a pawprint.

CAT IS THE MEASURE OF ALL THINGS

Protagoras's saying originally reflected his Greek-Egyptian roots and deep reverence for cats, but was later amended because although cats are into and onto everything, they don't actually measure it. Literal interpretations led to mathematicians and customs officials suffering severe lacerations as they attempted to use cats as weights or measuring rods. The saying was amended to "Man is the measure ..." which prevented further confusion and contusions.

ROMEO, ROMEO, WHEREFORE ART THOU ROMEO?

Recent discoveries in a museum back room tell us that the original text is actually "Romeow, Romeow, Wherefore art thou Romeow?"

Recently some musings came to light indicating that the first draft of Shakespeare's famous tragedy was originally written about a Spaniel who fell in love with a ginger tomcat. The bard had evident been disturbed one night by the yowling of a tomcat and the screaming of a quean in heat as they mated in the alley outside his house. Having emptied the contents of his chamber pot out of the upstairs window in an attempt to break up the disturbance and then leant out of the window to ensure the cats had vanished off into the shadows, he evidently got the idea for a balcony scene between two mismatched, star-crossed lovers. Grabbing a piece of parchment (the back of his wife's shopping list, since the other side is writ in a different hand and says "Two loaves ye finest bread without ratte droppinges, brace of baked cock-pheasante and no milke today") he scribbled down a few ideas.

Juliet: Romeow, Romeow, wherefore art thou Romeow? Deny thy species and forget they name, or if thou'll woof not then I'll no longer be a Spaniel.

Romeow: Sweet Juliet, I cannot help but be a roaming tomcat while you are the sweetest black Labrador I have ever met. But 'tis said our love is unnatural, that a cat and a dog shall never truly be lovers.

Juliet: Then I'll elope with you sweet Romeow! Forever to fawn and whimper at your feet. If you kick me, will I not creep back to you? Shall I not fawn like a dog?

This has been scratched through with the notes "too tacky" and "ditch the Spanish dogge" and a second draft reads:

Mewliet: Romeow, Romeow, wherefore art thou Romeow? Deny thy species and forget they name, or if thou wilt not then I'll no longer be an Angora.

Romeow: Aah sweet Mewliet, you are a the sweetest, kindest pedigree Angora. But I am just a roaming mutt-cat. Pray, mate with me this night and I'll be on my way as a tomcat must, seeking out the willing queans and contesting their affections with the other toms that roam the night.

Mewliet: And shall I never see you again Romeow?

Romeow: You will see me in the kittens that you nurse, in the bedraggled bodies of drowned kittens in a sack in the millpond, in the crushed and bloody forms of the cat beneath the turning wheels of the miller's cart, in the cry of the baited cat in the pit, in the ...

Again, it has been scratched out with a note "it is only the lateness of the hour and being dragged unwilling from my slumber which maketh me so uncharitable to the catte" and interestingly there is an inky kittenish pawprint and indecipherable scrawl on the parchment as though a curious young cat was chasing the quill while the bard attempted to write. We shall never know what the bard might have written in a play about cats and dogs since he sadly didn't have a larger piece of parchment on which to write. However, his ideas were eventually turned into the all-human tragedy about the Montagues and Capulets, to white "Romeo and Juliet". Sadly, it has lost a great deal in the transforming of a feline-inspired story into a tale of human love.

LOOKING LIKE AN EXPLOSION IN A CAT FACTORY

A saying used on encountering an area covered in clumps of cat fur, generally after a major grooming session by longhaired cat(s). The overall impression is the aftermath of a pillow-fight using pillows stuffed with cat fur. There will be enough fur spread over the immediate area to cover a small- to medium-size kitten. The epicentre of the explosion effect is the place where the cat sat while grooming.

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