Category Archives: cats

Am I Understood?


The total self-corrective unit which processes information , or, as I say,’thinks’ and ‘acts’ and ‘decides’, is a system whose boundaries do not at all coincide with the boundaries either of the body or of what is popularly called the ‘self’ or ‘consciousness’; and it is important to notice that there are multiple differences between the thinking system and the ‘self’ as popularly conceived. – Gregory Bateson

Delleuzian-Lewin The Cyclical process of Action Research – The Contribution of Gilles Deleuze — G.F. Bertini

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Kippie In Repose


Our fifth cat, Kippie, chilling on the stairs. Yes, you have to be careful going down the stairs.

Kippie’s kittie psychology possesses an aspect I haven’t previously observed in a cat. Susan describes it this way: Kippie doesn’t respect other cats boundaries.” What he’ll do is jump to where one of the other four cats are lying down and land right on them. He will move them out of the way irrespective of how much room is accessible, and, shortly after the other cat departs, he’ll leave too. I suppose he’s asserting alpha rights to a micro territory!

Along with this consistent behavior, Kippie is also the least likely of all the cats to pick a tussle with his mates. Apparently, he is the alpha.

A man in a movie theater notices what looks like a cat sitting next to him. “Are you a cat?” asked the man, surprised.


“What are you doing at the movies?”

The cat replied, “Well, I liked the book.”  source

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Cat Vision

What cats see

This is my favorite cartoon from B.Kliban’s iconic book from 1975, Cats.

Why Cats Paint

From Why Cats Paint.

Why cats Paint

Preface-Why CatsPaint

Great book that is half tongue-in-cheek, and, half a showcase for spontaneous cat painting.


Kizzie, laying about the studio amid guitars

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Cat Toy?

bird house

My favorite end cap at Giant Eagle is the one stocked full of products somewhere once offered as cannot live without premiums on TV, where, if you act right now, we’ll also send you. . .

The other day, I found this, maybe the ideal interspecies toy for indoor cats. We have five indoor cats. Susan gave a thumbs-down on doing the experiment.

(But there are endless experiments to possibly do! via Wired: How to use your cat to hack the neighbor’s wi-fi.)


Originally posted in May 2012, Sonny today is two and half years old, sixteen pounds, and still retains a kitten’s disposition. He has a year old brother Kippie, who is also a Maine coon mix, so the flying is earthbound but multiplied by two. Actually, Sonny can be inspired to leap around a foot off the ground, which is about the length of his body not counting his tail.


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Cat Spat

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[Gregory Bateson] The first definite step in the formulation of the hypothesis guiding this research occurred in January, 1952, when I went to the Fleishhacker Zoo in San Francisco to look for behavioral criteria which would indicate whether any given organism is or is not able to recognize that the signs emitted by itself and other members of the species are signals. In theory, I had thought out what such criteria might look like?—that the occurrence of metacommunicative signs (or signals) in the stream of interaction between the animals would indicate that the animals have at least some awareness (conscious or unconscious) that the signs about which they metacommunicate are signals.

I knew, of course, that there was no likelihood of finding denotative messages among nonhuman mammals, but I was still not aware that the animal data would require an almost total revision of my thinking. What I encountered at the zoo was a phenomenon well known to everybody: I saw two young monkeys playing, i.e., engaged in an interactive sequence of which the unit actions or signals were similar to but not the same as those of combat. It was evident, even to the human observer, that the sequence as a whole was not combat, and evident to the human observer that to the participant monkeys this was ?“not combat.?”

Now, this phenomenon, play, could only occur if the participant organisms were capable of some degree of meta-communication, i.e., of exchanging signals which would carry the message ?“this is play.?”

(4) The next step was the examination of the message ?“This is play,?” and the realization that this message contains those elements which necessarily generate a paradox of the Russellian or Epimenides type -a negative statement containing an implicit negative metastatement. Expanded, the statement ?“This is play?” looks something like this: ?“These actions in which we now engage do not denote what those actions for which they stand would denote.?”

We now ask about the italicized words, ?“for which they stand.?” We say the word ?“cat?” stands for any member of a certain class. That is, the phrase ?“stands for?” is a near synonym of ?“denotes.?” If we now substitute ?“which they denote?” for the words ?“for which they stand?” in the expanded definition of play, the result is: ?“These actions, in which we now engage, do not denote what would be de-noted by those actions which these actions denote.?” The playful nip denotes the bite, but it does not denote what would be denoted by the bite.

According to the Theory of Logical Types such a message is of course inadmissible, because the word ?“denote?” is being used in two degrees of abstraction, and these two uses are treated as synonymous. But all that we learn from such a criticism is that it would be bad natural history to expect the mental processes and communicative habits of mammals to conform to the logician?’s ideal. Indeed, if human thought and communication always conformed to the ideal, Russell would not in fact could not have formulated the ideal.

(5) A related problem in the evolution of communication concerns the origin of what Korzybski,62 has called the map-territory relation: the fact that a message, of whatever kind, does not consist of those objects which it denotes (?“The word `cat?’ cannot scratch us?”). Rather, language bears to the objects which it denotes a relationship comparable to that which a map bears to a territory. Denotative communication as it occurs at the human level is only possible after the evolution of a complex set of metalinguistic (but not verbalized)63 rules which govern how words and sentences shall be related to objects and events. It is therefore appropriate to look for the evolution of such metalinguistic and/or meta-communicative rules at a prehuman and preverbal level.

It appears from what is said above that play is a phenomenon in which the actions of ?“play?” are related to, or denote, other actions of ?“not play.?” We therefore meet in play with an instance of signals standing for other events, and it appears, therefore, that the evolution of play may have been an important step in the evolution of communication.

(6) Threat is another phenomenon which resembles play in that actions denote, but are different from, other actions. The clenched fist of threat is different from the punch, but it refers to a possible future (but at present nonexistent) punch. And threat also is commonly recognizable among non-human mammals. Indeed it has lately been argued that a great part of what appears to be combat among members of a single species is rather to be regarded as threat (Tinbergen,64 Lorenz,65).

(7) Histrionic behavior and deceit are other examples of the primitive occurrence of map-territory differentiation. And there is evidence that dramatization occurs among birds: a jackdaw may imitate her own mood-signs (Lorenz66), and deceit has been observed among howler monkeys (Carpenter,67). [excerpt: 4.2 A Theory of Play and Fantasy, Steps to An Ecology of Mind, Gregory Bateson]

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The Time of the Cats

Waiting for Spring

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the kid's good

cats - behavior interpreted


Kippie in November 2013

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Kippie’s Ekaya

Kippie, (his new name and named in honor of South African jazz legend, Kippie Moketsi,) three months old, suffering from kitty PTSD, and looking out from the carrier after making the trip from the APL without a peep.

Life is looking up. His documentation tells his brief story: family brought in the unwanted litter three months after the births. This fine looking boy was named Jitters and he was not socialized to human touch to any normal degree.

Susan and I always knew we were headed toward a fifth and last cat of a long haired gray variety. We’re the perfect home for a little wounded kitty who has a bit of healing ahead of him.

As I wrote on the APL’s survey, “He will become the cat he was meant to become.” As Susan put it: “Our love will now expand.”

Sonny trying to open a door

Sonny trying to get the door to the lower porch to open so he can welcome his new “half brother.”

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Just Because You’re Hot…


The last few days the temperature at the third floor noguts noglory studios has been over 90 degrees. No A/C. fans aren’t much help. So, why does Sassy park herself under one of the pedal steels and Kizzy lounge about on the stack of proofs?

At least Glori has the good sense to find some shade.

Glori in the box

Sonny, on the other hand, just has it rough in the hot weather.


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Sitting On the Bay

kitties at bay window

This line-up is rare: Sonny, Kizzy, Sassy and Glory. Lots of window opportunities abound even if the bay window looks out upon the bird feeder hanging from the crab apple. Spring is a special time for indoor cats.

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The Adolescence of the Tubes

the future


cat couch

h/t Rodney Pike

I loves me some cats fer sure.

Sonny the cat; "painted"

Sonny the cat; “painted”

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Sassy & Guy


Do cats gaze longingly?

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Kizzy & Glori, and an Update

Glori & Kizzy

Kizzy and Glori, on the bed, and, their being still, in such close proximity, makes this a rare shot.

Lots happening…Susan and I are searching for a house; I’m still remediating vinyl records and packing compact discs after the great water tank leak disaster five weeks ago; matters having to do with our mother’s estate; and, to boot, we’re in the midst of an election season between Mr. Etch-a-Sketch, and, Mr. Did You Say Hope?

Post Soggy

Half of the seriously dampened recordings in queue for re-mediation.

This has ground to a halt: music making, art creating, long phone chats with my co-conspirators, and, plowing away on research about serendipity in human development. And, as it has come about, this last endeavor will turn out to be an echo of the popularization of Serendipity! that has suddenly burst into the scene in a sudden flurry.

Nevertheless, there is always room for the saving feline graces provided by our four cats, Glori, Sassy, Kizzy the Kizzinator, and, Sonny, aka Sonny the Flying Cat.

Sassy Being Sage-like

Sassy Being Sage-like


Sonny Hangin' Out with Poppy

Sonny Hangin’ Out with Poppy

Sonny note–this photo was snapped in the studio almost three weeks ago. Sonny, who is ten months old, is a lot bigger today. My guess is that he’s 20% bigger than Glori was at the same age and may be headed to the a portion of the size Maine Coons can achieve.




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Glori, the Dancing Cat

Glori, the dancing cat

The most modest sort of trickery results in a well-received posting to Google+, shared here.

Glori, our eldest, tripping the light fantastic in her tuxedo!

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Sonny Colors & Cat Ends

Sonny Colors

Cat Ends

Three of four cats depicted.

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Cat Flyin’

Sonny Flies

Kizzy Flies?!

Kizzy Flies


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My Own Cats

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Sonny Flyin’

Sonny flies.

Youtube video

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Glory Toon, Sassy Toon

Glory Toon Camera app

I have been mostly successful at resisting every photo FX (ie. effects) app for IOS that comes down the pike. No thanks, Instagram. (Preferring instead to compulsively acquire iPad music-making apps.) However, a review for ToonCamera caught my attention at the reliable clearinghouse AppAdvice.

In our house, we most often aim our cameras at cats.

Sassy Toon

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Squint, and he disappears.

Cat-Pike -Position

Pike Position

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