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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

i'm gonna be a blue collar. . . cat

I'll take those long nights, impossible odds
keeping my eye to the keyhole
if it takes all that to be just what I am
well I'm gonna be a blue collar man
(Styx, Blue Collar Man)

All she wanted was membership in the National Association of Local Government Officers, Glasgow (Scotland) chapter. After all, she'd been doing an excellent job of pest control at the People's Palace Museum there for some time, and you know what a dirty job that is. But NALGO said no. So she became a member of the General, Municipal and Boilermakers Trade Union.

They didn't discriminate against cats.

True story, about a cat named Smudge and her illustrious career in Glasgow's public service during the 80's and 90's. This page tells you a little more about The People's Palace, and about Smudge.

And here (courtesy of this thread) is her obit from The Glasgow Herald and Evening Times, October 25, 2000:

Feline favourite of People's Palace finally runs out of lives
Died at her home, after a long illness, SMUDGE, THE PEOPLE'S PALACE CAT, Glasgow's Kitty of Culture during 1990. When Smudge joined the People's Palace as a lowly rodent operative in 1979, Glasgow City Veterinaries looked in her mouth and pronounced her to be 'a fairly old cat'.

Popular with People's Palace visitors, ceramic replicats were made of her by potter Margery Clinton in 1987. When the limited edition of 50 sold quickly, a mass edition was produced, so that visitors could take one home. Fridge magnets, notebooks, t-shirts, postcards, Christmas cards and mugs quickly followed, and the fundraising success of Smudge was such, that the phrase 'there's a little money in the kitty' was commonly used by museum staff. Smudge became a member of the General, Municipal and Boilermakers Trade Union, after NALGO refused her admission as a blue collar worker.

When she became a supercat, she loaned her paws to many campaigns, including 'Save the Glasgow Vet School' (1989), 'Paws Off Glasgow Green' (1990), and was the first recorded pick-cat, when she appeared at the head of the picket line at Kelvingrove during a strike in 1989. She was proclaimed as Glasgow's Culture City Kitty in 1990. Smudge featured on the jacket of 'The Scottish Cat' book by Hamish Whyte in 1987, was the star of the Scottish Cat Club Championship Show in 1988, and had an angry exchange with Arthur, the Kattomeat Cat, who tried to top-cat her on her home territory in 1990.

She retired from public life in 1991, although she recently undertook some contract work at the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, where there was field mouse trouble. She also features in the Museum of Scotland's Twentieth Century Gallery (opened 1998) and in the guidebook.

A Scottish cat of two centuries, her warm purr, her rich white fur coat with the distinctive black heart, and her sweet nature will be sadly missed. Her descendents are all over Glasgow and her replicats can be found in five Continents, where they have been taken or sent by cat loving Glasgwegians. Our thanks to the veterinary practice of Una McLean who kept Smudge going; the Welsh firm of thermal heat pads, ditto; and our good neighbours, the Gillett family.

Elspeth King and Michael Donnelly

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