Why WA’s museum loved cats

Noolbengers looking unbearably cute

Noolbengers looking unbearably cute

Colin Barnett may not like cats. He even passed a ridiculous piece of legislation forcing cats to be on some kind of sex offender register.

But we’ll tell you who does like cats. The West Australian Museum. That’s who.

Why? we hear you ask. Because they added to the Museum’s collection of native wildlife, and that institution had no money to spend on assembling one.

In 1939, a cat belonging to Mr W. Skeet, of Forrestdale caught a live noolbenger. (Don’t worry, we had to look it up on Wikipedia too. Turns out it’s a honey possum, which is half the size of a mouse.)

Mr Skeet did what any good citizen would do, and posted it to the WA Museum. The cute little critter was put in a cage with another noolbenger, which had been caught by a Shenton Park cat a couple of weeks earlier.

The Museum’s curator, Ludwig Glauert, loved cats. He encouraged people to send in anything they caught. Other than mice. Apparently mice were boring.

You see, cats are “instinctive collectors”, who don’t (so we are told) eat West Australian native marsupials, they just like bringing them home to play with.

The top unpaid animal collector in WA was an unnamed black and white cat owned by Miss May Tree, of Newlands near Donnybrook. (Dodgy Perth can’t help thinking that Miss May Tree sounds like a great name for a black and white cat.)

For years, in the course of its “unscientific researches,” Miss Tree’s cat donated ring-tailed possums, wambengers, dunnarts, noolbengers, quendas, and even bats.

Without this hard work, the WA Museum wouldn’t have had much of a collection said Ludwig.

Especially since many of these animals were nocturnal. And curators can’t go out at night. Apparently.

So let’s hear it for WA’s unsung hero of scientific research. The humble pussy.

h/t Christen Bell