All posts by Barb Beier

I am writing a series of short ebooks about cat evolution, and use these blog posts and those at 50FactsAboutCats.wordpress.com to help me get it in shape. Any feedback would be welcome. Unfortunately, for the moment, for reasons having to do with stalking, I also need to say that no one is authorized to represent me or speak for me, even if they claim to have or actually do have a family connection.

Fancy Cats Come From Moggies

A fancy-cat is one of those fur-baby champions on display at a cat show.

Moggies are all the other domestic cats. This UK term for cats has spread throughout the English-speaking world partly because of the British Commonwealth and partly over the Internet.

It’s a cute word, much easier on modern ears than “malkin” or “grimalkin,” the really old English words for “cat.”

Back in the day, there weren’t any fancy-cats, just some pets that belonged to royalty, aristocratics, or religious recluses.

Continue reading Fancy Cats Come From Moggies

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Book Update

Just published Fact 24 as a blog post at 50 Cat Facts.

Yes, it’s now about a month before my latest planned publication date, and I’ve still got 26 facts to go.  When setting up the schedule, I expected these to be easier, as it doesn’t involve researching the development of the species and many of them already appear as blog posts, but now I know how difficult it is to write a good post.  Those earlier ones were too easy.

We’ll see.  I am not going to take that January 5th date too seriously – so glad I don’t have a contract at this point!

Excuse: It’s my first nonfiction book.  This experience is going to help a lot with the next one, on the rest of the modern cat family, which is still due out in late November 2018.

Featured image: Library of Congress.

People and Cats, Living Together

Here is something for the Caturday after Catsgiving! – RH


Human beings have influenced the social lives of domestic and “feral”** cats in ways we are only just beginning to understand.

This isn’t about survival issues like food, water, and shelter. We have actually changed the way this species interacts with the world and with other domestic cats. 

In return, cats have worked their way into human culture and now, apparently, own the Internet, as well as our hearts and minds.

Continue reading People and Cats, Living Together

Writing update

Just published Fact 18 as a blog post yesterday.  Obviously, I’m not going to get the next 32 facts done by this coming Cyber Monday!

My alternative date, in December, was probably wishful thinking; I don’t want to rush this.  Today I worked everything out and decided that I will publish 50 Facts About House Cats (and Where They Come From) on January 5th of the coming year.  That leaves me plenty of leeway, but we’ll see.

(Just as a first mention, once this is out, I will try to publish the next book in the series – 50 Facts About the Cat Family (and Where They Come From) – in time for the 2018 T-day holiday.)

Here’s some lagniappe:

A Maine Coon, by tantien3 at Pixabay. (Public domain)

Thoughts on Global Warming

This isn’t going to be simplistic, pro or con political statement on “climate change.”

I used to see global warming simplistically, but my views kept changing as I learned more.

  1. Heard about global warming back in the 70s or 80s and how runaway greenhouse effect would turn planet into a Venus twin. Scary!
  2. Headlines dried up and I forgot about it because the modern culture is full of “shiny things,” basically.
  3. From roughly 90s on reminded about global warming and caught emphasis on rising sea level – very concerning!
  4. Offput when it became a political issue, but still concerned.
  5. While first researching book, learned that Earth has been much warmer in the past with much higher CO2 (but no “Venus effect”), and wondered what the big concern today is.
  6. Offput by scientists speaking politically (not in their discipline but in a public pulpit) about an issue they created called “climate skepticism” or “climate denial.” Seriously, people – that’s being human, not sciencing. Don’t prove Chesterton was right when he said that scientists are the most sentimental people around.
  7. Came across paradoxical information that made me think seriously about long-term global climate change for the first time – info like Earth’s possibly cooling during a high-CO2 time during the middle Miocene epoch, or a huge injection of greenhouse gases around the Paleocene-Eocene border that killed all life on the planet Earth handled very well actually; some global heating but no runaway greenhouse effect; cooling back down to the previous baseline (warmer and with more CO2 than today).
  8. I read this sentence: “It is clear from the geologic record that natural thermostats existed to maintain warm climates, as they must to maintain cold climates.” (Lyle and others) So Earth has a switchable “thermostat” and we don’t know much about it – scary!
  9. Learned more about the ice ages that began (for unknown reasons) around 2.5 million years ago and wondered why everybody is upset about global warming that may break this freezing cycle, which has been intensifying with each ice age.
  10. Then learned that Homo sapiens is a child of the ice-age-cycle world and suddenly understood the real issue with global warming: no one knows if we can live on this planet under any other “thermostat” setting.

As a species, we do have the technology, wealth, and social responsibility to handle a major sea-level rise of hundreds of feet and the resulting displacements and other problems.

Whether or not we also have the will to act against a slow process like this – in human terms, it’s slow – remains to be seen.

Here’s the truly unknown factor:

Continue reading Thoughts on Global Warming