“Dear Chairman Meow, are there any domestic cat constellations in the sky?” – Joanna R., Lansdale, Pa
Excellent question, Joanna, and you are in luck because Chairman Meow has infinite knowledge of all things. Allow Teacher Meow to fumigate his wisdom upon you.
Yes, in fact, there used to be a glorious constellation called, Felis the Cat.
It was named as a tribute to the noble domestic kitty, but later omitted from star atlases by arrogant and elitist astronomers.
Here’s the full history:
Felis the Cat Constellation: Born in 1799
In 1799 French Astronomer and cat-lover Joseph Jerome de Lalande suggested adding a constellation that he named Felis the Cat. (NOT “Felix the Cat!”)
Lalande was quoted as saying, “There were already thirty-three animals in the sky; I added a thirty-fourth, the cat.”
A devoted cat-servant, Lalande added, “I love cats very much. I will have this picture engraved on the star map.”
Felis the Cat was soon broadly recognized, and appeared in the highly-acclaimed Uranographia Sive Astrorum Descriptio star atlas of 1801.
Lalande’s Felis the Cat constellation was recognized for decades afterward, appearing in many notable star atlases of the 19th Century.
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) omits Felis the Cat – WTF?
In the early 20th Century, French astronomer Nicolas Camille Flammarion, deemed Felis the Cat to be expendable, and so it was omitted from the final list of 88 constellations approved by the IAU in 1922.
Other notable constellations eliminated by the IAU included:
- Rangifer the Reindeer
- Bufo the Toad
- Hippocampus the Sea Horse
- Limax the Slug
- Manis the Pangolin
How could history include the illustrious Felis the Cat with this motley crew of rejects!?
To make things worse, the IAU included three domestic dogs in their approved group of constellations, including Canis Major & Canis Minor.
The only silver lining to this astronomical charade was that fellow feline, Leo the lion, did make the final cut.
The Curse of Felis the Cat?
Soon after the arrogant act of omitting Felis from the list of constellations, Nicolas Camille Flammarion would die in 1924.
*Although the official conclusion was that Flammarion died of natural causes, some suspect foul play, as several cat hairs were found next to his body. Chairman Meow, however, denies any involvement
After Felis the Cat was rejected, a number of other terrible things would happen to mankind, including The Great Depression and World War II; all under a night sky devoid of the majestic Felis the Cat.
What a pity.
Make Felis the Cat great again!
Honorable Leader Chairman Meow promises that when cats rule the world under his brilliant leadership, the constellation of Felis the Cat will once again be a constellation.
In fact, Felis will be the biggest constellation in the sky, and all but 9 stars in the Northern Hemisphere will be part of this new, kitty super-constellation. (The remaining 9 or so stars will comprise the constellation of a salmon, which Felis will be eating.)
Here is what the new and improved Felis the Cat constellation will look like:
What’s wrong? Upset because the North Star will merely be one of Felis the Cat’s toenails in Chairman Meow’s new star map?
It’s called “progress,” and you can either get on board, or get out of the way.
Long live the Kitty!
Chairman Meow haz spoken