Carl Sandburg and cats

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The phenomenon of catering to pets is not a new occurrence adopted by twenty-first century pet owners. Ever since the relationship between humans and animals began there has always been a desire to pamper their domesticated friends. And though there are many varieties from which to choose… starting with four-legged to two-legged with wings… to those with fins and others with scales.. it appears that the cat has gained its place within the high rankings of favoritism.

Let us go back a mere 10,000 years ago, to the Fertile Crescent where the first wild cats are known to have roamed. But like most humans that came in from their Nomadic lifestyle, a yearning to have a pet must have been prevalent. In ancient Egypt cats were worshiped, mummified, and kept on leashes. (Hmmm, now that may be taking things a bit far for your liking.) Well, it appears that back in the Roman Days, say around 31 BC, cats also came in from the cold and were introduced to Roman life.

Cats were said to have traveled on the Mayflower, gaining access to America from Europe, leading up centuries later, to 1885, where they showed off their fur at the first cat show in Madison Square Garden. By World War I they had taken control of many a household, domesticating their owners… as they so like to do.

Therefore, it should not surprise you that the affection for the feline has not changed, although their culinary tastes may have been altered. One has only to stroll a cart down the grocery store aisle or pet-supermarket (as they are now called) to see that our cats consume meals that would get many human salivary glands going. A cat’s dinner sounds like the menu from a gourmet restaurant:  Tasty Pairings shredded meat topped with diced veggies, Natural Balance tuna and pumpkin in broth, salmon, tuna and crab in gravy, and chicken in creamy crab sauce.

So, the next time you look in the refrigerator and say there is nothing to eat, you are probably searching in the wrong place; check the kitchen pantry for the cat food, there you’ll find a feast-a-waiting!  (But you may have to arm-wrestle the cat for it!)

carl-sandburgToday’s post brings to you the esteemed thinker: Carl August Sandburg (1878 – 1967) American poet, historian, novelist, and folklorist. Born in Galesburg, Illinois of Swedish parents, he was a poor boy. Having left school at thirteen to help support the family, he worked washing dishes and laying bricks.  At seventeen he served in the army during the Spanish American War. When he returned he worked his way through a small college, Lombard, where he became recognized for his writing talents. There he met and married Lillian Steichen (whom he called Paula), sister of the photographer Edward Steichen. It was their move to Chicago that propelled his career becoming recognized as a member of the Chicago literary renaissance, which included Ben Hecht, Theodore Dreiser, and Sherwood Anderson. During his writing career, Sandburg won two Pulitzer Prizes, one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln: The War Years and one for his collection The Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg.

I now bring to you a most famous poem titled Fog, originally published in 1916 in his collection of poetry.  Although is a very short poem by most standards, it has been analyzed in a multitude of studies, however if you were to ask out feline friends they would most likely say, “it is a poem that subtly brings the cat ever more close to the heart.”

“The fog comes

on little cat feet.

 

It sits looking

over harbor and city

on silent haunches

and then moves on.”

 

First image: Thought Bubbles- Nanette L. Avery

Second image: Carl Sandburg, World-Telegram & Sun photo by Al Ravenna. 1955.

 

Henri Rousseau and cats

pebbles on the landing_with name Although the phrase, “Dog is man’s best friend,” it may actually be a misnomer for according to some folks, it is the cat that rules the roost. And yes, we all know that it is the dog that greets you when you come in from work, the dog that accompanies you on long walks in the park, and it is the dog that sleeps by the foot of the bed. Yet, isn’t this he same beast that is “oh so needy”. How often do we have to come home just to “feed” the dog because he or she is too greedy not to leave some for later, or we have to “get home” quickly to take the dog out because it can’t do its business on its own, or get back to the house to “check on the dog” because it can’t be trusted not to keep the sofa pillows out of its mouth or overturn the flowerpot!

But the cat, with its self-sufficiency, its independence, and yes, smugness about its aloofness as well as its ability to get what it wants by sauntering and parading about on little cat pads…we all might just admit that just perhaps it is the feline that might be deserving of the phrase, “Cat is man’s best friend.” After all, it can’t help it if they consider us “staff”… teasing us with just enough affection to lead us into a false sense of necessity. But perhaps, with all their independence and self-reliance they just don’t need us after all, but rather they are stringing us along for their next fix of cat nip!

Today’s post brings back the esteemed thinker Henri Rousseau (1844-1910 b. Laval, France), a most creative and a self-taught genius whose paintings are of high artistic quality. Rousseau, a French artist, is famous for his representation of the jungle, though he never left Paris. In addition to his exotic scenes there was a parallel production of smaller topographical images of the city and its suburbs. His work is often categorized into several different periods: Post-Impressionism, Naïve art, Modern art, and Primitivism.

I now bring you Rousseau’s painting titled, “Portrait of Pierre Loti”, a most interesting work that defines the cat’s ability to showcase itself in a most unassuming and cunning way…for clearly we can see it assumes a prominent spot in this portrait!

Rousseau portrait-of-pierre-loti