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20 January 2013

King Island Cats

I like cats. I really do. But I don't approve of them. Cats are beautiful, elegant, lethal predators, incredibly decorative, totally Gothic and greatly to be admired.

Admired, that is, unless you are a native bird or a small, endangered marsupial or a harmless lizard, like this baby blue-tongue. In which case you probably don't like cats at all. 

So I do not have a cat, and mutter unkind words about people who do, especially if they live close to bush-land and don't keep Kitty closely confined day and night.

Cats have done horrible things to native wildlife on King Island. According to the King Island Natural Resource Management Group Inc. brochure, in an average year your domestic moggy annihilates 16 mammals, eight birds and eight reptiles.

So people are out there trapping feral cats -  and Robyn Eades turns them into useful things like antimacassars, coat-hanger covers and hats.

When I returned from a walk the other day I found her in the kitchen I share with the Cultural Centre volunteers, stirring a huge pot she had boiling away on the stove.
 It was full of leafy greenery from a native plant harvested near her house and smelt wonderful, but it was not to eat. In went several skeins of hand-spun wool and after an appropriate period they emerged the most delicate shade of sage green.

This is Robyn. You can buy her hats and other fur-based products, her yarns dyed using native plants, as well as her lovely soft, knitted possum hair mittens and hand-made soaps from the King Island Cultural Centre.

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