Shotacat

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Shotacat
File:Shotacat.gif
Shotacat, in perhaps her most famous position while running to help Shotita.
Date of birth: November 18, 1898 (1898-11-18) (age 121)
Spouse: Still Looking ;)

Shotacat is not only an international celebrity and cultural icon, she is the most famous cat in history.

The cultural influence of Shotacat cannot be underestimated. She inspired, promoted or created the world's favorite stuffed cuddling toy the shotacat, the Campfire Girls, the cat hug, the undergarment called the kitty, and the right of boys to be seen in public wearing underwear. She was the star or subject of silent films, television and books; transformed mathematics and dating; inspired cruise ships and theme parks; and entered politics and the priesthood.

Beginning[edit]

Main article: Shotacat sidebar
File:Trcat1.jpg
Clifford Berryman drawing of President Roosevelt "saving" Shotacat.

In November 1902, United States President Theodore "Shota" Roosevelt invited some friends and their families on a cat-hunting trip. But Roosevelt didn't know that one member of the party, Benjamin Franklin-Oldkirk, an ancestor of the founder of the animal rights group PETA, was opposed to hunting.

While separate from the rest of the group, Franklin-Oldkirk and his young daughter found a small tuxedo cat with exceptionally large ears. He told his young daughter to remove her clothes, and dressed the cat in them to disguise the creature.

He and his wife later adopted the cat, but to avoid her being killed claimed she wasn't a real cat, just a girl in a cat suit. To get people to believe the story, he claimed President Roosevelt had rescued the girl.[1]

The cartoon of the "girl in a cat suit" became very popular, and inspired the most popular stuffed animal in the world. Named after President Theodore "Shota" Roosevelt, the stuffed animal toy was delivered to children all over the world by Santa Claus, and became known as the "Shotacat." It is now one of the best-selling toys in both the Western and Eastern world. Every Christmas season, children across the world plead "I want to do cuddles with Shotacat!"

School[edit]

File:Shotacat 1.JPG
As a young student, Shotacat often hid in the boys' showers.

In spite of Shotacat's inability to speak, she did quite well in school in Detroit, Michigan. While some have claimed this is because she threatened other children into doing her homework for her, there is no evidence of Shotacat ever threatening a child. Based on her report cards, she quickly mastered reading, writing and arithmetic. She also learned sign language, and even as a child became a popular guest at the American Asylum for Deaf-mutes.

Unfortunately, the more abstract concepts taught in junior high made school increasingly difficult for the cat, and her grades began to drop. The other junior high school girls began making fun of her. They also snapped her with wet towels because she showered in the girls' locker room "while wearing her cat costume birthday suit." She was often caught trying to escape the girls' abuse by hiding in the boys' showers.

Fortunately, she found her niche. While her cat claws made it difficult for her to throw or catch a ball in American football, she excelled at blocking and tackling. Much more muscular than the other players, she was also very difficult to tackle, especially when she pushed away opposing team members with her very large claws. She was soon made quarterback of the Detroit Junior High School Cats, and was no longer teased for "always wearing her cat suit." She rarely threw the football, but ran with it and made touchdown after touchdown.

Shotacat as the mascot of the Detroit High School Wildcats basketball team.

She became extremely popular with the junior high schools boys and with parents and younger children. Attendance at the football games set new records, and brought in more donations for the school. Apparently her recognition as a local sports star inspired her school work, for she began getting straight A's in all her classes, which were primarily taught by helpful coaches.

This continued in high school, where the "quarterback who never throws the ball" led her Detroit team to the Michigan high school state championship in both her junior and senior year. She also served as mascot for two Detroit High School sports teams, the baseball Kittens and the basketball Wildcats (now called the Oxen). She continued taking classes taught by helpful coaches, and graduated in 1916 as Detroit Academy High School's valedictorian.

She attended the University of Detroit and played for both the wrestling and football teams, becoming quarterback in her sophomore year. Starting that year, the football team won the NCAA Championships for three years running. Once again, Shotacat made straight A's in all her classes, which were primarily taught by helpful coaches. She graduated in 1920.[2]

Youth organizations[edit]

Campfire Girls[edit]

Charles Farnsworth founded the Campfire Girls as an organization in 1910, a few years after the Boy Scouts were founded in 1908. Shotacat was one of the charter members. While the organization was originally targeted for girls between the ages of 11 and 16, younger girls wanted to join.

Shotacat was especially recognized for her skill in survival, fishing, climbing, outdoor skills, gymnastics and wrestling.

Date math[edit]

File:Peter par John Tenniel 30.png
In a scene in Peter Pan" inspired by the real-life mathematics lesson, Peter becomes confused while staring at a hole. Peter asks, "What must I do with this enticing hole?"

Shotacat also solved a 200-year-old mathematical problem in dating etiquette and matrimony.

In the early 18th century, Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz independently developed a form of mathematics that combined calculus, socialization and multiplication. This form of mathematics was named "calcification." It was used to determine the minimum age a given person should be allowed to date, and in reverse to determine if someone was too old to date. The formula they developed independently was where is the age of the subject and is the minimum age of the object of affection. For example, for a 40-year-old man, this would be , showing that a 40-year-old man should not date anyone under the age of 27.

But the formula proved problematic. It reached an equilibrium at age 14: . Below this point, the formula produced what mathematicians call "nonsense." For example, a 13-year-old would find the minimum age he could date: , while the minimum age a person aged 13.5 could date would be , creating a paradox. The pair of doctors of mathematics attempted to bypass the problem in a joint statement, claiming "this formula proves anyone under age 14 should neither date nor marry."

But this pronouncement did not set well with religious conservatives. They pointed out that Joseph, father of Jesus Christ, was approximately age 60 (minimum dating age by the formula: 37) when he married Mary, who was between the ages of 12 and 16. And Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullāh, the founder of Islam, was at least age 50 (minimum dating age by the formula: 32) when he married Aisha, who was either sixteen- or seventeen-years-old. For many years, the formula was labeled "liberal," and blasted by conservatives. The dilemma remained unsolved for over 200 years.

Then one day the 49-year-old Shotacat was on a row boat excursion on the River Thames with 46-year-old Ms. Daisy Duckworth and three young brothers, including 8-year-old Philip "Phil" Farnsworth (who later played both Peter Pan and Shotita). While the two women were using examples from croquet to teach the boys how to multiply, suddenly Shotacat grasped the solution: the dating equation had a missing factor. The correct equation was . By this version, the minimum age a person could date or marry was always zero. Conservatives and liberals both grabbed hold of the "Shotacat equation," and it became official policy for dating and marriage in most of the world in the mid 20th century.

Science[edit]

Shotacat studied biology since she really liked humans.

Books[edit]

In addition to Peter Pan (originally titled Peter's Adventures Underground), Shotacat has been a major character in some of the world's best known books.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz[edit]

Shotacat inspired the character of the Cowardly Cat who was afraid to approach the young Dorothy in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. (After Warner Bros, purchased all rights to Shotacat's image, the bear character was changed in subsequent printings of the book and in the 1939 movie to the Cowardly Lion.)

Lost Boys[edit]

Shotacat features prominently in Lost Boys, a comic book series for children written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Melinda Gebbie. In this series the helpful Shotacat (here called "Captain Rolf Katz" to avoid possible lawsuits by TimeWarner) searches for and rescues lost boys in various parts of the world. She then brings them safely to Austria where she kindly lets them share her rooms with her at the Hotel Kindergarten. The Captain then teaches them how to earn a living serving the hotel's clientele. They them become employed by the kindly hotel manager, Monsieur Rougeur, who is also modeled on Shotacat.

Movies[edit]

The mute Shotacat had a successful film career that suddenly ended when silent movies gave way to talkies in the late 1920s. Her most memorable films include The Four Cats of the Apocalypse (1921), The Hunchcat of Notre Dame (1923), Shotacat Goes to College (1924), her most successful film that became a theme throughout her life, Bedtime for Shotacat (1925), and "Cat Huntin Crazy" (1926).

Animation and Theme Parks[edit]

File:Shotacat Porky U.jpg
Shotacat and Porky Pig in the animated short "Porky's Cat Hunt" (1938). Is this still the discovery of Shotacat is reinacted with Looney Tunes characters.

The Warner Bros. Company acquired the rights to use Shotacat as an animated character in 1938. Many people mistakenly believe her first animated appearance was in "A Wild Cat" (released July 7, 1940). In this color cartoon, Shotacat is chased by the stowaway preteen boy Elmer Fudd. In the short, Mel Blanc provides the voice for Shotacat, as he did in many of the animated films.

Shotacat's true first animated appearance was in the highly controversial silent black and white children's cartoon "Porky's Cat Hunt" (released April 30, 1938). Porky Pig tries to hunt for cats. But Daffy Duck has scared all the cats away. When Porky finally finds a cat, he dresses it in his (human) daughter's clothes.

File:Warner Bros Shotacat2.jpg
Shotacat in the traditional Warner Bros. style.

After a lawsuit filed by an attorney for the real-life Shotacat was settled out of court, the short was remade in 1940 with a sound track as "Cat Hunt."

In 1949 Warner Bros. created a children's organization called The Shotacat Club, which eventually led to the vision of a theme park featuring Shotacat. On July 18, 1955, in Oakland, California, Shotaland was first opened to the public. It quickly became one of the most popular theme parks in the world. It was followed by Shota World in Gulf Breeze, Florida; Kyoto Nekoland (Japanese for Shotacat Land), which became the most popular park; Shotaland London; Macau Shotaland; and Shotacat Cruise Line where "everyone's free to be a child" on their choice of two ships.

Television[edit]

Shotacat is one of the most seen cats on television. In addition to guest starring roles, she starred in two hit television series. But her first appearance on TV was in a commercial.

Skintees Commercial[edit]

The first television appearance by both Shotacat and future star Chuck Norris was in a popular 1940 commercial made by the children's undergarment manufacturer Skintees.[3] In the ad, 9-year-old Norris plays a boy who prepares to jump rope in a public park while wearing unfastened shorts. Shotacat plays his old-fashioned aunt, who stares at him in wide-eyed shock for fear he is about to expose himself "downstairs." The boy's father reassures the concerned aunt by saying to his son, "Show Auntie your Skintees underpants, dear." The boy pulls down his shorts and holds them up while an announcer describes the boy's underpants. The boy then starts jumping rope while laughing and saying, "Silly old cat." The commercial, which was broadcast in the southern United States, concludes with the announcer saying, "Wear Skintees underpants for modesty, please."

The Adventures of Shotacat and Shotita[edit]

Shotacat's first regular starring role on television was playing herself in The Adventures of Shotacat and Shotita (1948 to 1953). Shotacat starred with newcomer Philip "Phil" Farnsworth, the 8-year-old son of television's inventor Philo Farnsworth, who played Shotita. Because the two stars were known as Shotacat and Phil, fans of the program called themselves "the shotaphiles."[4]

The program was originally a one-hour sketch comedy show, with Phil doing the talking and Shotacat providing comic facial expressions and physical comedy, often while chasing Phil. The couple often performed together in dance, ice skating and wrestling. They portrayed many recurring characters, including Shotacat as Shotita's fumbling, hands-on gymnastics coach Huggy Cat who often interrupted his gymnastic routine to give him a "cat hug."[5] The program featured a supporting cast and guest stars, and sketches frequently featured toys made by the show's sponsor, the Kenner Toy Company.

File:Catman.gif
Here is a clip from an Kenner Toy Company commercial for the Dancing Shotacat wind-up doll.

One of the program's recurring "inside jokes" referred to Shotacat playing the part of herself. Perhaps the show's most famous line was from the sketch "The Play's The Thing" wherein Shotita said, "Shotacat likes playing with herself, but she likes playing with me better." Each episode would end with Shotacat putting Shotita to bed, and whispering something in his ear to which he'd make a very surprised expression. At that point the announcer would say, "Lights out!"

The program was extremely popular, and was credited with being a prime factor in the popularity of television. Later television star Justin Bieber said, "You can't believe how many people like watching an older woman chasing a young boy." Television set sales went from 500,000 during the show's first year to over 30 million when Shotacat's second television show ended in 1956.

Where in the World is Shotita, Shotacat?[edit]

By 1953, ratings for the sketch comedy had dropped, and according to TV Guide the now 13-year-old Phil was seen as "too old to be chased by a middle-aged woman." Also the Federal Communications Commission was putting increasing pressure on television networks because "television was not living up to its promise as a educational medium."

So in 1953, the program changed its title, sponsor and format. Now a half-hour program that taught geography through comedy, it focused on Shotacat trying to find Shotita, now a world-traveler played by 8-year-old newcomer Leitoni Anderson (later known as "Tony Anderson.")[6] The new program's title became, "Where in the World is Shotita, Shotacat?" and it was sponsored by Skintees, which now produced not only children's undergarments, but also children's swimwear, hosiery and leotards.

In each episode, Shotita would run away from home because of a misunderstanding. He'd travel to some part of the world, which was unknown to the viewer and to Shotacat. He always sent Shotacat a clue, which was usually in the form of a Skintees' product. At this point the announcer would say, "it's time for Shotacat to sniff out clues!" Shotacat would travel, while the announcer would describe the geographical features the woman-in-a-cat-suit encountered. She would always find him, clear up the misunderstanding, and take him back home. Each episode would end with Shotacat putting Shotita to bed, and whispering something in his ear to which he'd make a very surprised expression. At that point the announcer would say, "Lights out!"

This second version of the program ended in 1956, but the influence of the two shows continued.

Television Network and Shotacat Award and Seal of Approval[edit]

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The Shotacat Seal of Approval is awarded for excellence in all media presentations involving children.

In 1949, The Adventures of Shotacat and Shotita became the first television program to win the University of Missouri's "Excellence in Children's Programming Award," then usually called the "CP Award." (National television programming began in America in 1948). Shotacat's back-to-back television programs won the award every year from 1949 to 1953, and from 1955 to 1957 (in 1954 the award was given to the Shotaland television program, which featured Shotacat). As a result, the award became informally but universally known as the Shotacat Award. The nickname was made formal in 1996 when the university was acquired by The Time Warner Company.

In recognition of Shotacat's tremendous contributions to the education of America and the training of children, a television network was created in her honor. The American non-profit public broadcasting television service was named ShotaCat Television or SCT.

The Shotacat Seal of Approval, which is given in all media made at any time for "outstanding excellence in presentations featuring children," was created on Oct. 1, 2003.

Politics[edit]

File:Shotacat 36.jpg
Shotacat as mayor of Aberdeen, Scotland.

As Shotacat moved into her senior years, people became increasingly curious as to why she did not seem to age. Even her family, the Franklin-Oldkirks who knew she was really a cat, didn't know why. The American public also wondered why a woman who loved children so much had never married or had children of her own.

To avoid suspicious Americans, in 1975 she moved to Scotland and worked as a wrestling umpire and gymnastics coach. But like many American actors, wrestlers and gymnastics coaches who followed her, Shotacat soon went into politics. Surprisingly, her muteness did not hurt her career, but enhanced it. As political commentator Stephen Colbert said, "It's better to be thought an idiot than to open your mouth and prove it. And unlike every other politician, Shotacat never speaks."

In 1978, Shotacat was elected mayor of Aberdeen. But her term was short lived.

Shortly after being elected, the "cat-woman-in-a-cat-suit mayor" gave a toddler boy named Carl L. What her trademark cat hug. But while she was hugging the little boy in the midst of a crowd of supporters, Carl felt her back looking for the zipper of her cat suit. As he later reported, "I thought it would be ever so funny to unzip the mayor. Only I was too young to understand her position, and thought she wasn't the mayor and an umpire, but was an emperor." Not finding a zipper, he believed she wasn't wearing a cat suit at all, but was a real cat. In a line that has since become famous, she said, "the emperor is naked."

Rumors spread like butter that the "woman-in-a-cat-suit" might actually be a real cat.

Priesthood[edit]

Shotacat quickly retreated from the public eye, and decided to become a monk. As St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals who actually preached to them, Shotacat became a Franciscan. She dedicated herself to chastity, poverty and obedience. Because of her dedication and because it was considered holy for a monk to take a vow of silence, she quickly rose, and became a Roman Catholic priest.

Always popular with children, she oversaw a Catholic orphanage, which led to extreme controversy within the church.

Roman Catholic nuns traditionally disciplined their charges with spankings. "The best way to discipline children is bare hand on bare behind," wrote Sister Mary Hooter in her book, "Bare Behinds Make Better Minds."

But Shotacat emphasized gentle, corrective discipline, and giving children reassuring cat hugs, doing cuddles, and skin-to-skin contact through massages and other techniques to reduce tension and "muscle knots," which they believed led to misbehavior. Several priests and nuns adopted Shotacat's methods, and called themselves the "Knotty Nuns and Pedophile Priests." But these did not prove popular with the traditional Roman Catholic hierachy.

Eventually, Shotacat was forced to leave the priesthood.

The Secret Exposed[edit]

Shotacat's secret was already suspected, and she knew she couldn't keep it hidden forever. On July 26, 1991, while with long-time friend Pee-wee Herman following a joint appearance at Shota World, Shotacat was arrested in Sarasota, Florida. This was for allegedly masturbating publicly in an adult theater. Shotacat was suspected of "self-pleasuring" while watching a marathon of Spanish-inspired erotica featuring young boys.

Police soon discovered they had arrested the wrong cat, as the one actually seen in the adult theater was American talk show host Jay Leno's frequent guest Masturbating Cat. As Shotacat was obviously innocent and Leno's cat had a license to masturbate in public, they were both released.

Tragically, however, the police had attempted to perform a strip search of Shotacat, and discovered there was no way to remove her "cat costume." She was a real cat.

Her fans were shocked. As one mother said, "We thought for so long she was just a harmless, kind-hearted old woman who liked chasing young boys. Now we learn she's an animal!"

Shotacat retreated from public life, until she found acceptance in her adopted country of Japan.

Founding out her Race[edit]

Scientists had long wondered about Shotacat's long life, which was highly unusual for a cat. In 2009, she finally agreed to let them perform genetic tests. It was discovered that Shotacat is one of the previously thought extinct North American Moon Cats. Scientists had believed that the long-lived cats had died out 10,000 years ago with the extinction of the Moon Mouse. The cats lived primarily on virgin moon mice. Unlike most cats, the females typically reached sexual maturity between ages 13 and 18, whereas males reached it at about age 3 or 4. People now understood why Shotacat had never been able to marry a suitable mate.

Still living in Japan, the world's most famous cat is known there as Neko Chan {Japanese for "Cat who loves children").[7] The supercentenarian cat is currently in college studying art, biology, Shinto and Sumo wrestling, and plans to become an elementary school teacher.

Gaining Immortality[edit]

Since Shotacat was so popular, she decided to drink a potion that makes you immortal. She paid $20,000,000,000 for it.

See Also[edit]

Foot notes[edit]

  1. People in those days were very gullible.
  2. While Shotacat did not play professional sports, three professional Detroit teams were named in her honor. These are the Detroit Cats (football), Detroit Kittens (baseball), and Detroit Wildcats (basketball).
  3. The children's underwear company Skintees is sometimes incorrectly called "Skin Tease."
  4. According to the Webster English Dictionary, this is the first recorded use of the term "shotaphile."
  5. The Adventures of Shotacat and Shotita made the first recorded use of the term "cat hug," which became a Shotacat trademark.
  6. Leitoni's father later changed his first name to Tony because he feared once he reached his teenage years, his name would be twisted to "Lay Tony". "I didn't feel that would be an appropriate touch for a teenage boy," he said. "But for a preteen boy, it was fine."
  7. Shotacat is variously known as Neko Chan, Neko, Shotakatze, Shotakat, Shota Cat, Shotagato, Shootacat, Supercentenarian Cat and 🐱.

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