This is Sagwa, and he's dressed as a pirate for Halloween! Of course you know what that means: a post about pirates' cats. Alas, I'm two days into it and haven't found anything solid on the history of feline sea buccaneers.
I did find this from Weatherby Chesney's ripping yarn for boys, John Topp, Pirate (London: Methuen & Co., 1901):
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The scent of the cooking brought an addition to the party. A gaunt, long-legged, black cat put his nose round the door, and leered at Alec and me with such an evil expression that we involuntarily shrank back ; and I at least had uncomfortable recollections of the stories I had heard of witches and of the Evil Eye. A cat may be a mere cat and nothing more ; but the other sort are much the same to look at, and I had no particular fancy for being hurried away on a broomstick to attend a witches' Sabbath.
Willie noticed my consternation and broke out into a roar of laughter.
" Ha, ha! Master Topp; afraid of Nep I see. Come Nep, there's a compliment for you ! You've scared the young gentleman with yer pretty smile. No need to fear him, my lads ; if there ever was any witchery in him the salt water has washed it all out by now. Nep's been half over the world with me, and you might rub him in the dark for a week without gettin' a spark out of him."
That was all very well, but when Nep set up the brine-stiffened bristles on his tail, and arching his back spat and swore at me through his jagged teeth, all because I moved my twenty-pounder out of his reach, I thought it advisable to rap out a piece of Latin just by the way of precaution. Nep, however, was nothing more than he seemed, and in later days we became shipmates and firm friends, though it took some time before I became sufficiently accustomed to his eccentricities to be able to pass him without a shudder.
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