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Steeped In Something Or Other

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.

Comments (11)

  1. Dec 8, 2010

    Our tom cat still hasn’t forgiven me for getting him spayed. I am sure he’s plotting to kill me in my sleep. The female however, has been nothing but grateful, because now the ginger tom from up the road doesn’t come down and yowl at her. Much.

    Our cats aren’t steeped in legend either, unless that legend involves being found dumped in a bad neighbourhood and rescued to live with me, where they are FORCED to work for their supper.

  2. Dec 9, 2010

    That paragraph was not written by a Mainer. It was written by someone from New York who once spent two summer weeks in Maine and now considers it their “true home.”

    Here’s how an actual Mainer would describe the Maine Coon: “It’s a cat. Or maybe a dog. Hard to tell.”

  3. Dec 9, 2010

    BAH! Now that is funny. I’m picturing it in the accent of the people who talk on Curious George (the cartoon edition), having never actually been to Maine. I did know a few people from Maine, though, in college. They really did not have accents, though, now that I think of it.

  4. Dec 9, 2010

    That first line wasn’t as bad as the post about cutting up your eyeballs. Close, though.

    One thing I have learned from reading mommyblogs: Cats are a lot of work.

  5. Mr. Right-Click
    Dec 9, 2010

    Here is the legend of the Main Coon cat as I know it:

    Once upon a time there was a guy living in the woods of Maine all by himself. His father was an original Pilgrim, but he did not like it “way down south”, so he moved to the woods. He enjoyed the quiet solitude but was lonely. The land was full of animals and he had his pick for a friend. He decided on a mouse. The mouse was too small and squeaky so he fed it to a raccoon. The raccoon was too bothersome and cantankerous so he fed it to a horse. The horse then shit out a cat who turned out to be, voila, the first ever Maine Coon. That cat, in turn, smothered the man, fed off his corpse and then, when authorities finally figured out what was going on, escaped to the woods. There he lived, mating with various of nature’s animals, including cows, sheep, vermin, deer and porcupines. Thus the breed was strengthened. Unfortunately this also led to the advent of venereal disease when a Celtics fan fucked a goat who had spent the previous summer on Lake Winnipesaukee with that very same cat.

    So that is the story of the advent of the hearty, loyal, murderous “cat-coon” Maine Coon cat, boys and girls. Hope you enjoyed it.

  6. Dec 9, 2010

    ayiyi, honey. After I carefully crafted your image, you undermine me like this? 🙂

  7. Dec 9, 2010

    I don’t have an accent either, beyond generic East Coast. The true Maine accent is a bit of a dying breed, I’m afraid. (Or maybe not. It isn’t the prettiest to listen to.)

  8. Dec 9, 2010

    What would Mr. Right-Click’s one-line bio be, do you think?

  9. Dec 9, 2010

    It depends a lot on whether or not I am allowed to write it, and if I am acting as his PR agent or not. I’m not going to say that it’s like when Tom Cruise jumped on Oprah’s couch or anything, but you know, I have warned him of the dangers that have befallen the likes of Jon Armstrong . . . yet he still is curious . . .

  10. Dec 9, 2010

    Having two of the little shits…oops I mean Maine Coons, and being from Maine (and hoping like hell to go home SOON!), I can tell you for a fact that those descriptions are nothing like the two beasts that rule our home.

    Griffy is naughty and Gracie in neurotic. Griffy fancies himself a dog. He begs worse than any dog I have ever seen, drinks out of the toilet, and takes up an entire side of the bed and drools on it to boot!

    Our other cat,a Ragdoll is the best thing ever! The end.

  11. Dec 10, 2010

    I currently have a polydactyl long hair Siamese who is beautiful, but like most natural beauties, rather neurotic and insecure. He had his nuts until age three, when I had them hacked. I think this has effected him negatively, and I think he’ll probably get fat now.

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