A Beaufort Scale For Pub Cats

Laurence Scales
By Laurence Scales Last edited 14 months ago
A Beaufort Scale For Pub Cats
Nala, of the Ravensbourne Arms in Lewisham. Definitely a 6.

Londonist would like now to offer some tools to the public in their dealings with pub cats. When we were carousing at the Hoop and Grapes in Farringdon Road, the pub cat showed up to patrol around closing time. We were a bit taken aback when proffering a hand to have it met with a growl and a flick of the tail fit to raise welts. Such moods seem out of character in a pub cat and our first reaction was to wonder how it passed the job interview.

However, we later reflected on the experience and now reproduce an analogue of the Beaufort Scale — a non-scientific way of measuring the strength of wind — to remark on the tempestuous mood swings of pub cats.

This invention arises from the benign conflation of two ideas which sometimes arises under the influence of alcohol. Robinson Crusoe author Daniel Defoe and hydrographer Francis Beaufort (plaques in Stoke Newington and Manchester Street respectively) each came up with a scale of wind strength of use to shipping. We also recently ran across a detailed biography of a Georgian ship’s cat, Trim, by captain Matthew Flinders (his blue plaque is off Fitzroy Square).

Beaufort’s original scale was based on observation of the rigging of a small frigate. It was later adapted for land use. It is now time to extend its application indoors, and to a small furry animal.

A ‘smart’ collar is in preparation in our underground labs, a necessary step in the creation of an internet of pets. But meanwhile, whether you are in Catford or Mog-adore, Purfleet or Petts Wood, it may be useful for landlords recruiting mousers, or to chalk up status hourly, and for pub goers to have handy when texting, a readily understood score for feline moods based on our new chart below.

Cat in the Wibbley Wobbley floating pub.

Trim: a case study

A brief resumé. Although born at sea we know that Trim (1799-1804) was quartered briefly in Deptford near the naval dockyard and taken to London by stage coach in which he occupied a seat ‘at full liberty’. He subsequently accepted another posting and his naval service continued in the South Seas where, eventually, he was eaten. Now for the case study.

When Captain Flinders (1774-1814) observed of Trim: ‘he had no fear of evil spirits’, we may confidently assign the cat a minimum mood of 2.

‘A musket ball slung with a piece of twine, and made to whirl round upon the deck by a slight motion of the finger, never failed to attract his notice.’ This is consistent with a mood of 5.

‘A slight motion of the end of his tail denoted the commencement of impatience.’ We now recognise this mood as being number 8 on our scale — a point at which we would need to approach a cat with caution.

We think we have the makings of a psychometric test to offer pub landlords recruiting cats, and an app is in development.

Beaufort and Cat Comfort Scales compared

Force Wind name Land version Sea version (shown for comparison where relevant) Pub cat version Mood name
0 Calm Smoke rises vertically. Flat. Pub does not have a cat. Mice rise nightly. Absent
1 Light air Smoke drift indicates wind direction. Leaves and wind vanes are stationary. Ripples without crests. Timid cat. Ears extended. Tail is stationary. Rarely enters bar. Timid
2 Light breeze Wind felt on exposed skin. Leaves rustle. Wind vanes begin to move. Small wavelets. Crests of glassy appearance, not breaking. Breathing but no other detectable motion. Cat may insouciantly occupy more than one bar stool. Flat
3 Gentle breeze Leaves and small twigs constantly moving, light flags extended. Large wavelets. Crests begin to break; scattered whitecaps. Cat drinks from its own bowl on the bar or is constantly moving between tables. May break off to groom fur. Sociable
4 Moderate breeze Dust and loose paper raised. Small branches begin to move. Cat pleased to see you. Tail rises vertically. People who don’t like cats prepare to move. Friendly
5 Fresh breeze Branches of a moderate size move. Small trees in leaf begin to sway. Cat arrives at your table. Shoe laces prove interesting. Mobile devices fall to the floor. Strong interest
6 Strong breeze Large branches in motion. Whistling heard in overhead wires. Umbrella use becomes difficult. Empty plastic bins tip over. Belly exposed. Purring heard. Reading a newspaper becomes difficult. (And the cat is much the same.) At ease
7 Near gale Whole trees in motion. Effort needed to walk against the wind. Cat sticks tongue or paw in your beer. Effort needed to leave pub. Near purrfect
8 Gale Some twigs broken from trees. Cars veer on road. Progress on foot is seriously impeded. Cat hungry. Consumption of your pub snacks becomes difficult. Impatient
9 Strong gale Some branches break off trees, and some small trees blow over. Construction/temporary signs and barricades blow over. Pork scratchings disappear. Scampi wrested from plate. Barricades may need to be erected. Strong advances
10 Storm Trees are broken off or uprooted, structural damage likely. Cat growls. Tail lashes. Furious
11 Violent storm Widespread vegetation and structural damage likely. Exceptionally high waves. Very large patches of foam, driven before the wind, cover much of the sea surface. Very large amounts of airborne spray severely reduce visibility. Hissing. Unsecured toes are at risk. Small articles broken. Violent
12 Hurricane Severe widespread damage to vegetation and structures. Debris and unsecured objects are hurled about. Huge waves. Sea is completely white with foam and spray. Air is filled with driving spray, greatly reducing visibility. Air is filled with claws. Severe widespread damage to vegetation and structures. Debris and unsecured objects are hurled about. Berserk

For more cats, see the pub cats website or follow @pubcats on Twitter.

Last Updated 30 October 2017