Deucy the Two-Faced Kitten
A rare, two-faced kitten was born in Amity, Oregan, on Tuesday, June 11th. Stephanie Durkee, the owner of both the female kitten and its mother, took the two-faced cat to a vet, who say she’s in good health. She meows loudly from both mouths. The kitten—named “Deucy”—has been rejected by her mother, so she’s been feeding her warmed kitten formula from a syringe.
“The kids … came in and said, ‘Mom there’s a kitty with two heads,’” Durkee told Portland’s NBC affiliate. “And I said, ‘I think you guys are just tired, you’re crazy, that doesn’t happen.’”
Durkee, who plans to keep Deucy, says the kitten was born at “6:11 a.m. on 6/11 under the ‘Gemini’ astrological sign.” Durkee said she “can’t help but wonder at the ‘double’ coincidences surrounding Deucy’s birth.”
Vintage Animal Photographer Harry Whittier Frees
Harry Whittier Frees (1879–1953) was an American photographer who created novelty postcards and children’s books based on his photographs of animals. He dressed the animals and posed them in human situations with props, often with captions. These were famously popular as postcards and posters at the turn of the century. The books and postcards are both highly collectible today.
These comical images are from his 1915 book, The Little Folks of Animal Land. He created images with animals, mostly kittens recreating everyday life scenarios. The images were titled:
- “Lily Bufkins Cuts a Wisdom Tooth”
- “Barker was Busy in the Kitchen”
- “Mrs. Bufkins Takes Barker’s Place”
- “Purra Plays a Joke on Prowler”
- “Mrs. Bufkins had a Busy Day”
- “Rosie was a patient model”
- “Prowler and Purra Try the Jam”
Unlike many of Frees contemporaries, he used live animals and not taxidermy. This allows guilt-free enjoyment of the pictures without the “yuck” factor of knowing that you are looking at something dead.
More Fun with Animals
There is something very compelling about vintage animal photos. They depict the consistent love relationship over the decades that most humans have toward animals. The kitten in the beard wins for cuteness.
Animals Acting Human, 1923-1956
Ever since photography began, the genre of animals acting human as been a popular novelty. There is something about animals mimicking human behavior that is just too cute. Whether its “Carrots” the rabbit firing table tennis balls from a toy cannon, a lamb and a cat playing checkers or a cat hanging mice like laundry, its hard not to smile.
Thomas Edison - 1894 Boxing Cats
Thomas Edison, who invented the first motion picture camera and made film both a mass communication medium and a creative craft — was also the first person to put cats in front of a camera and make them do something silly.
The Pin-Striped, Three-Piece Suit, Top Hat Cat
Since the picture is vintage, it is fair to assume that this little cat suit, hat and moustache were handmade since Build-A-Bear Workshops weren’t around. Whoever took the time to make the suit and take a photograph, must have really loved their cat. Either that, or it’s a picture for an ad so all of the sentimentality is completely gone from it.
Strange Vintage Cat Valentine’s Day Cards
The Tale of the Three Little Kittens Taxidermy Display
An unusual and disturbing vintage taxidermy tableaux constructed for the Marahaja of Mysore’s childrens nursery in 1870. It is set to depict the story of the nursery rhyme, “The Tale of the Three Little Kittens”. These three little kittens have lost more than their mittens.
The Cat Piano - A True Musical Oddity
A cat organ or cat piano (Katzenklavier in German) is a conjectural musical instrument which consists of a line of cats fixed in place with their tails stretched out underneath a keyboard so that cats cry out in pain when a key is pressed. The cats would be arranged according to the natural tone of their voices.
There is no official record of a Cat Organ actually being built, but is rather described in literature as a bizarre concept. This instrument was described by the French writer Jean-Baptiste Weckerlin in his book “Musiciana, Extraits D’ouvrages Rare ou Bizarre” (Musiciana, descriptions of rare or bizarre inventions.
“When the King of Spain Felipe II was in Brussels in 1549 visiting his father the Emperor Charles V, each saw the other rejoicing at the sight of a completely singular procession…The most curious was on a chariot that carried the most singular music that can be imagined. It held a bear that played the organ; instead of pipes, there were sixteen cat heads each with its body confined; the tails were sticking out and were held to be played as the strings on a piano, if a key was pressed on the keyboard, the corresponding tail would be pulled hard, and it would produce each time a lamentable meow. It was noted that the cats were arranged properly to produce a succession of notes from the octave.”
More recently, the instrument was recreated using squeaky toys by Henry Dagg for a garden party held at Clarence House in 2010 by Prince Charles and Camilla to support his “Start” initiative for sustainable living, which can be seen here. The tune “Over the Rainbow” was played and caused great amusement. Prince Charles was laughing so hard, that his eyes start to water. Its quite funny to watch.
Curious History: “Operation Acoustic Kitty”, 1961-1967
In the early 1960’s the National Science and Technology directorate, a super secret department within the CIA, came up with a brilliant plan to get back at those darned commies. Their plan was to use unassuming animals to spy on Soviet officials, most notably; cats. Called “Operation Acoustic Kitty” (I kid you not) several cats were implanted with what was then the latest in recording and radio technology. Former CIA officer Victor Marchetti gives this account of the project:
“They slit the cat open, put batteries in him, wired him up. The tail was used as an antenna. They made a monstrosity. They tested him and tested him. They found he would walk off the job when he got hungry, so they put another wire in to override that. Finally, they’re ready. They took it out to a park bench and said, “’Listen to those two guys. Don’t listen to anything else – not the birds, no cat or dog – just those two guys!’”
The theoretical advantages of super cyber cats are simple; they could amble up on anyone and eavesdrop. Who would ever suspect that an innocuous alley cat could be a top secret government spy project? Plus, if captured, the kitty aint’ talkin’.
By 1966, after five years of effort and $20 million dollars spent, “Operation Acoustic Kitty” was ready for action. A cyber cat was released across the street from the Soviet Embassy in Washington D.C. With instructions to go and spy, the cat walked across the street and was immediately hit by a taxi. Agents later returned to the scene to collect the roadkill, ensuring that the Russians did not get their hands, or should I say “paws”, on the top secret technology. The program was terminated in 1967.
Vintage Halloween Scat Cats; 1950s
Vintage Taxidery Dolled-Up Kitty; This cat looks curiously terrified and dead!