Last Book Update and a Popocatepetl Volcano Video

How’s that for a mixed bag? 🙂

Seriously, though, it’s a gorgeous video of an eruption that happened just before (and during) sunset last night. You can find out more about this volcano and what it’s doing by clicking the “Popocatepetl” link at the top of this page.

As for the book, since the update last week, someone whose opinion I implicitly trust reviewed the book draft and suggested that I break it into two parts, because it’s house cats.

I agree. The rest of the cat family already has its overarching narrative, so to speak–“wild cats!” This ties a book of 50 short essays together very nicely.

But we know Fluffy better, and there are many layers to our acquaintance. In fact, there are so many different kinds of information available on moggies, fancy-cats, and strays/feral cats that 25 facts per book are much easier for readers to digest.

So I’ve set the milestone.

On that day–January 10th–check back with this blog for a special offer from Amazon on the books.

And as always, thank you for your interest!

Featured image: An explosion early on the morning of December 5, 2018, image by CENAPRED.


Book update and a little about cats and Earth

As many of you know, I’m working on an ebook, 50 Facts About Cats (and Where They Come From).

Well, I finished the writing of it today!!!!

There is still work to do, of course, but I hope to have it up on Amazon within the next two weeks. Yes, faithful readers, goodies are planned for you!

Cats and the Earth

Lately it has just been cats and volcanoes here, with the occasional news from space, but I know that some people who are drawn here by the volcano and other geology stuff wonder why there are so many cat posts; and cat people wonder why there is so much geology.

Now that this blog is doing so well, I do have to work out its focus more, but it is about Earth–a big place. Probably I will spin off the archives of the better posts on various topics as web pages on particular subjects.

How did cats get into it? Well, about four years ago I decided to write a book about cat evolution, with emphasis on the paleontology. Fossils fit into a geology blog very nicely. It seemed like a chocolate/peanut butter thing.

However, upon doing some reading at the University of Oregon’s library and also at OSU’s Valley Library, I was just gobsmacked at what has gone on over Earth’s history in the past 65 million years of carnivore and cat evolution. All that has had its effects on cats, certainly, but in trying to figure everything out, I became better acquainted with fossil cats and cat-like predators and discovered their story is quite a saga, too.

It was too much for one book, especially one’s first.

Someone suggested a series, and I figured it would be good to start with house cats–the cat family (and its fossil relatives) all have the same general body plan and everyone is familiar with Fluffy, so it’s a good place to begin a series. Also, it’s good practice for writing before I get into the more complicated zoological and geoscience business.

Or so I thought. Actually writing is hard, no matter what your topic. I have learned so much, and I think my blogging reflects that over the last year or so. This work on cat books is having a beneficial effect on all my writing.

So, anyway, now the plan is for an ebook series of 50 essays (not a listicle) each on:

  • House cats
  • The cat family
  • Sabertoothed cats
  • Nimravids (am going to have to work on this title some–these cat-like sabertoothed predators that were actually probably caniforms are fascinating, but no one has heard of them; may work the Order Carnivora and its origins into this, but not to worry–this one is far in the future

Meanwhile, Popocatepetl keeps everyone on edge, down in Mexico, and the Sunday Morning Volcano is fun. Over the next two weeks (or however long it takes to get the book out), I won’t be doing much here except live-blogging Popocatepetl (see link at top of page). There is a Feline Friday post scheduled for tomorrow, and a Morning Volcano post this Sunday, but otherwise things are going to quiet down as I finish this up.

Thank you so much for following and reading this blog, and thus encouraging me to continue writing about things that I love.

Featured image: Jo-Knopf, at Pixabay Public domain.

Guest Videos: Lykoi–The Werewolf Cat

Happy Halloween!

For facts about the Lykoi, ask the Cat Fanciers’ Association or TICA (the International Cat Association). And this is a good overview about cats with sparse hair on their coats.

But the following video, which I suspect is mostly fact-free, is a lot of fun:

Meanwhile, at the cat show . . .

Featured image: Steptacular via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Species Facts: The Andes Mountain Cat


Not many facts about the Andean mountain cat are available.  It’s presently known to science as Leopardus jacobita.

This little feline resident of the Andes is so good at avoiding people that, even in 1998, only two sightings had been reported. (Johnson and others)

By the end of the twentieth century, all scientists had to prove that this cat wasn’t a figment of their imagination were three skulls and less than forty museum specimens, each one at least sixty years old. (Johnson and others)

By 2002, things hadn’t changed much. Experts reported that the only proof of the Andean mountain cat’s existence was the occasional pelt appearing in local fur markets. (Sunquist and Sunquist)

Now, with the help of technology, the Internet, and many devoted scientists willing to do what it takes to get up into the mountain cat’s home ground, this has happened!

Only one question remains: What did they put in that bait?

Featured image: Jim Sanderson. CC BY-SA 3.0.

Johnson, W. E.; Culver, M.; Iriarte, J.A.; Eizirik, E.; and others. 1998. Tracking the evolution of the elusive Andean mountain cat (Oreailurus jacobita) from mitochondrial DNA. The Journal of Heredity. 89(3): 227-232.

Sunquist, M. and Sunquist, F. 2002. Wild cats of the world. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.


Starting tomorrow, I will be posting at least one fact a day here about house cats, fancy cats, the big cats, all those other wild cats, and/or the awesome sabertoothed cats.

This is in aid of a series of 50 Facts About Cats ebooks that I will self-publish this fall as a retirement project.

By liking or commenting on a post, you can help me decide which facts should go into each book.  Or you can just sit back and enjoy some insights into one of the most amazing and popular animal groups on this planet – the cat family Felidae.
IMAGE:  Featured image is by Harrison Weir in Our Cats and All About Them, 1889.