Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Monday, July 13, 2009


July 14th 2009 is the first annual International Donj Day, where cat lovers (and non-lovers) around the globe must celebrate Orange Cats and their gingery marmaladeness.

Before anyone points out the obvious, I am aware that July 14th is also Bastille Day in France. July 14th is also the birthday of my good friend Aurelia and we manage to celebrate that, so I'm sure we can manage to celebrate National Donj Day as well.

Happy birthday Aurelia, by the way, and happy Bastille Day to the French.

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.

According to the poet T.S. Eliot in 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats', all cats must have three different names. The first is a sensible everyday name, the second is a name that must never belong to more than one cat, and the third is known by the cat and the cat alone.

My 10-year-old ginger cat is unusual in that he is far more commonly known by the second of these names, with his 'everyday' name now being used only occasionally. His everyday name is Orange Cat, although his 'proper' name is Spider McGraw.

So, why National Donj Day? What is Donj and what has it to do with the Orange Cat? Basically, after a time Orange Cat became the French 'Chat d'Orange'; this was later shortened to just 'd'Orange' and subsequently bastardised to 'Donj'. The Orange Cat is certainly a character. He is one of those cats whose pride is precious to him, to such an extent that if he falls off the arm of the chair during a nap, he will feign sleep and pretend that he 'did it on purpose'. He will also beg for food under the table like a dog and loves crisps and cake*.

I managed to blame the Orange Cat for breaking the bathroom light in our old home for several months, and I think to this date I have got away with it (although now my deceit will clearly be uncovered). Bored one evening, I picked up the Orange Cat and placed him carefully on a small shelf mounted on the wall near the doorway of our bathroom. Of course, shortly afterwards he jumped down, somehow catching the cord of the light-switch as he went and damaging the mechanism in the ceiling. I pretended he'd done it by himself and that I'd had nothing to do with it. We all had to shower in darkness for months. I think he should share at least some of the blame.

He makes his living in Hollywood, although we have yet to see a penny of the rewards. ** The biggest roles to date are probably as 'Puss in Boots' in the Shrek films and as the infamous 'Garfield', although several bit parts have also helped make his name and he can often be seen popping up in films and on television. Of course, marmalade fame runs in the family. An ancestor was the feline star of Breakfast at Tiffany's alongside Audrey Hepburn, and other family members appeared as Data's cat 'Spot' in the television series of Star Trek and 'Jones' in the movie Alien. But orangery is not a phenomenon limited to this household alone.

A very brief scan through Google produces a plethora of sites dedicated to Orange Cats, including: · an entire group on the photo-sharing site Flickr, · a blog belonging to Jeff the Giant Orange Cat (under the name of http://www.whatjeffkilled.com/),· a page entitled 'I have a problem with Orange Cat peeing in my bed?' which, I must state, is nothing to do with our particular Orange. In fact, the world's love of carrot-topped cats does not stop there. Google also reveals a cafĂ©, a wedding photography service and even a carnival glass dealer, all named after Orange Cats. So show your support for National Donj Day and let's celebrate orangery in all its glory, for without Orange Cats the world would surely be a much duller and less colourful place!

*This is of course a presumed love backed up by no hard evidence whatsoever, since no self-respecting vet would ever feed their cat crisps or cake.

** EDITOR'S NOTE: The Orange cat also works as chief typesetter of CFZ Press. If you have any of the books we have produced since the summer of 2007, have a gander at the title information page. Orange Cat invariably appears. But beware: He can take many guises....

1 comment:

Jae said...

I too one owned two Orange Cats called Garfield (it was the eighties!) and Marmalade. They were wonderful. Next year you should make International Donj Day buttons! :D