the art railway modelling with a cat

Now we all know that dogs have owners while cats have staff. At times, the help given by our feline friends to us railway modellers can have disastrous consequences. For cat lovers such as myself it is particularly traumatic as one does not dare to shout at the cat as one knows only too well that they will only sulk and do something else dreadful like being sick on the duvet. So this page is dedicated to fellow feline victims under the jack paw of the Furred Reich! Indeed, we should probably undertake a post-structuralist analysis of the socio-semiotics of fuhrer/feline inter-contextuality.

Whinge the Egyptian Mau (spotty one) and his constant companion Lenny the Foreign self colour and Microdot (scale 12"/1ft) during a quieter moment. Very sadly, Lenny and Microdot have since gone to the big litter box in the sky.

Much of the time, modelling leaves me with hands covered with half dried sticky materials. This is exactly when Whinge requires attention. I must say that Whinge, realising that his humans are almost entirely devoid of fur, is remarkably generous with his. This leaves us with a constant problem of trying to keep Whinge fur and the railway separate. All our locomotives have had to be dismantled to remove cat hair from moving parts!

Whinge also hates so much attention being devoted to the model, rather than himself. To this end, he has on occasion jumped onto the baseboard. That is until he sat on the signal cabin which has long sharp finials. One detached and embedded itself in his nether regions....a stressful moment for us all. We thank Expo Tools for the pointed tweezers and Ratio for free replacement finials!

His best friend Lenny, a self colour caramel oriental had to be locked out when we ran the trains due to his inability to differentiate between trains and mice (we think it's his inbreeding)!

Sadly, our cat Lenny mistook it for a mouse while it was running round the layout. waiting for his moment

he pounced and with a solid right claw, hooked it onto a brick step. The locomotive was completely destroyed.

Lenny was not injured or upset in any way as a result of this incident.

We have now developed an advanced attack cat containment system in conjunction with Zanussi. Destructive cats will also cause less damage if confused. Mouse over the image below for confuse-a-cat. (Confuse-a-cat patents pending). We consider this a technological breakthrough compared with previous efforts. We have been swamped with emails concerning our cat containment system.

Another problem is that cats have to find the right place to sleep. One important rule of cats is to never sleep in any basket or bed specially provided for them by a human. Almost anywhere else will do. This means eternal vigilance. A recent accident at County Gate was caused by a cat who went to sleep deep inside one of our tunnels.

Cats will sleep anywhere as long as it is entirely inappropriate! check this out

Since we brought up these difficult issues for railway modellers with cats, many other solutions have been proposed.

Keep on sending us your ideas. We need help!

feline news

The years take a toll on us all and our cat population had reduced down to one....Whinge, the Oriental spotty. Whinge is now stiff and old and no longer represents a threat to County Gate. Being a glutton for punishment, he has now been joined by another spotty (apricot this time) called Holly.  She is young and very energetic and already has managed a couple of forays onto the layout....everything is back to normal.

Of course, cats do have their uses when constructing scenery.

Some people view cats  in a very different light. See here

organic grass

or our own video

The cost of producing realistic grass on model railways is quite high particularly if you elect to use the Noch electrostatic system. Researchers at County Gate have developed a new methodology using renewable resources with a low carbon footprint. The choice of cat breed can be important. We strongly recommend the use of oriental cats (if available). For smaller scales, we suggest using kittens.

always best to select a trusting cat (this one will require bleaching)

then wash cat

some cats may struggle just a little

not all cats are suitable: this one, for instance, will REALLY F**K YOU OVER

many cats will require bleaching

Dye cat required colour of grass. The cat above is meadow spring green. (best not to use a dye that requires boiling)

this cat has been dyed in 'harvest gold'

cover area to be treated with PVA adhesive and apply cat

For tufts, lightly dab on cat in required places. For larger areas, hold cat in place using gaffer tape until PVA is nearly dry, then tear off cat (try not to get your blood on the model). The grass can then be trimmed to length required. Allow cat to lick off excess PVA from its skin. Whiskers are excellent for marginal plants such as reeds.

Once used, put aside for recycling and catch your neighbour's cat. The slight green tinge does fade in time.

OK, so I have got a twisted sense of humour! The Americans are dumb enough to do things like this for real!  see here

For further reading:

'Narrow Gauge Cats'  Ian Allen
'History of cats in 009'  009 Society
Cats and Live Steam  16mm Society
Scratch building   RSPCA
Cats of the Welsh Highland Railway   FR Society
Older cats of the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway  WHHR Portmadoc

National Cats and Railway Modellers Helpline' 0203456789