Steeped In Something Or Other
Our worst fears have been realized: Edie finally managed to bite off Chum Chum’s nutsack.
(OK, that is not actually what happened. But when The Catneid is rewritten for the big screen, I imagine a gory scene in which Edie, finally driven mad by Chum Chum’s neck-biting, claw marking, half-humping and all of the other assinine territorial behaviors that mark the rapidly advancing development of male feline identity, tears off Chum Chum’s man(?)hood in a Tarrantinoan fit of gore the likes of which moviegoers will talk about for decades to come.)
What actually happened is that we got Chummy fixed before he started doing the shaky tail thing that male cats do that is so damn annoying and started trying to hump Edie for reals. Now he has a cone on his head and is half high most of the time from pain meds.
I dropped the cats off one week ago at the vet’s office and only retrieved them yesterday. After all of the drama with the parasite, we find out that Chum Chum just has a nervous stomach and has to eat sensitive stomach food for prissy cats. So, to punish him, we decided to chop off his nuts, what with him already being over there and everything.
It was kind of strange because, as much as I complain about these damn cats, I was the one going around bemoaning their absence all week. “Where are those damn cats?!” I would ask nobody in particular. I realized how much time I spend with them — far longer than anybody else, because I spend more time in the house. It turns out that, when I wasn’t looking, the
little giant bastards have wormed their way into the black hole where my heart is supposed to be.
While at the vet’s office, I noticed a cat breed poster on the wall, and since I had nothing else to do, I decided to locate the Maine Coon entry. When I found it, I was thrilled to learn that the Maine Coon is the oldest native breed to the United States and considered a working breed [cough]. Of significantly more interest was the side note that the Maine Coon is, apparently, steeped in legend.
Steeped in legend? Like, not as a joke involving a cat tree that is bigger than a car?
What kind of a legend could possibly star a Maine Coon cat? I’m picturing something out of Chrétien de Troyes, something that would have been originally carved into dried animal hides, so parts of it have decayed away and there are just gaps in the original manuscript? Maybe a quest, an elaborate armoring ritual that takes several hundred pages of references to chain mail, and then the climax where they meet some giant standing on top of a tree stump in the middle of a forest?
I decided to do some research, because the cat poster was not really helpful on that front. You might be surprised to find that there are, indeed, pages upon pages of references to legends involving Maine coon cats. Oddly enough, despite many promising references — including something called a “polydactyl Maine Coon” (WTF?! is that a dinosaur cat?), none of the pages actually contained what I would, personally, consider a “legend” involving Main Coons. Instead I found culturally insensitive conjecture about the derivation of the breed name, and passages like these:
Imagine old Maine teeming, boat builders hammering and sawing, clipper captains by the score called Maine ports home, and trusty schooners sailed the eastern coast, and world wide vessels of commerce. Maine’s villages with salty air and inland, the short growing season, sent many of her young men to find their fortunes at sea. This is from where the Maine Coon Cat came.
This passage reminds me a little bit of the episodes of Curious George the cartoon where they’re at the Man With The Yellow Hat’s country home, and everyone has a New England accent, and that one neighbor kid who has a bunny collection is always cracking jokes about “city kids” because he doesn’t seem to notice that George is a monkey and that, sometimes, he can do things that you can’t do? In those episodes, it’s like all of the people from New Hampshire or Maine (or wherever the Yellow Hat Country House is supposed to be located) are sort of the collective butt of the joke. Maybe they know it, too, but they don’t care, because they’re too busy harvesting apples or letting George run the train switchboard or whatever.
And that is where “from where” the Main Coon cat came: a place where they would rather have an awkward, ugly sentence at the end of a paragraph about a cat breed than ever, ever end it with a preposition, because ending a sentence with a preposition is wrong, and they don’t do things wrong in Maine. Ever.
Anyway, Chummy is recovering nicely. The family is all back to normal. There are not any legends, though. I think the only legend, is the idea that there are legends about Maine Coons.