I came across a blog today that made me wonder. WONDER, isn’t it a fabulous thing? (wonderful?) Especially when it is caused by just a few phrases, approaches or thot patterns within the blog that seem to treat only one piece of the issue. The woman writing had a friend tell her she owned a MAINE COON…a big fluffy cat, with specific characteristics. Actually it is a BREED of cat, but I am sure that many cats with similar characteristics can be and are called by that name without any grand deception or inner trauma, even if they can’t produce a pedigree. It seems, however, that to this blogger that IMPLICATION of a name REQUIRES just such PROOF of proper linage. I want to take some thots from the blog and discuss them in a little detail. I think she may find the roots of such views in what I must assume comes from her Mormon past, but it is total conjecture on my part.
First she tells how a FRIEND was surprised that they had a “Maine Coon”…I found it intriguing how the thots about that cat EVOLVED from this simple comment. Her first statement was “I had never even HEARD OF such a cat breed. Then after some research they decided that their cat fit the description and therefore, they must have a “Maine Coon”… Excitement was the next word that caught my attention…and I wondered really WHY would discovering a NAME of the breed your cat POSSIBLY comes from be any big deal?
Here I must say that I would not be analyzing this woman’s reaction had she not analyzed her own, and that of her husband and children, in such a way that I just wanted to see how MY own reaction would have gone. They were ABUZZ with excitement and went to WIKIPEDIA and cats 101 in “our quest for TRUTH”. TRUTH???? (I think this is where I was inspired to blog about this, absolutely symbolic event…I never thot of finding truth in any 101 or WIKI anything) After reading all the tell tale signs of such a cat, they saw enough similarities between their cat and the description to ASSUME that they did indeed have a Maine Coon… BUT WAIT… Doubts set in…SUDDENLY IT MATTERS, we NEED to KNOW!… I thot as I read that… Really? WHY would you? Does it change the cat? How much love you share? Your past history with her? Her desirability? What if it is discovered that she is NOT a PUREBRED Maine Coon? (which is certainly the case if you do not have the proper breeding records and “pedigree”….which are usually well crafted documents to assure at least the CLAIM of proper handling, association and lack of breed contamination for at least some period of time—TRUTH?…can you trust these Claims? Did it relate to the COST of the Cat?… Who BTW determined the FIRST purebreds and decided that THEY WERE? ) Upon such a discovery/confirmation of NON purebred status, does that make the cat any less valuable? Does it make it any less a Maine Coon? Even a pedigreed cat if taken to a shelter and adopted out is no longer seen as “purebred” for it LACKS the proper PROOF. What is proof anyway if not just something that convinces any particular individual…(What is proof for you may not be proof for me.)
As the blog continued she asked another important question… what is it about humans that DRIVES us to establish lines of authority, lineages and pedigrees for EVERYTHING? I had never realized that humans DID establish such linkages to EVERYTHING, but if its TRUE, The reasons can be myriad…Maybe STATUS, could be FINANCIAL benefit, their INSECURITY, a simple attempts to make sense of things, methods to deceive and obtain power, TRADITION, just because (that covers hundreds of other motives by which any individual may be inspired) Is it a BAD drive? I don’t think so. It is certainly not dishonest or deceptive for the most part. I am driven by it in my family linage just so I can find out what they LOOKED LIKE, and if I am lucky find something they WROTE or DID that indicates to me some similarity…I guess you could call it a CURIOSITY about ME.
She then discusses her husband’s desire for a “narrative” …some MYTH which once created in our heads gives even more “meaning” …maybe even a REASON for the character or personality of the individual cat, certainly a shading of our own PERCEPTIONS of “what is” (maybe not so much what has been- Is it really important if the cat’s ancestors were owned by royalty or chased reindeer in Scandinavia?…maybe to someone it is…not to me, even if it were PROVABLE, which it NEVER WILL BE.)
The blogger then creates the connection between arriving in the new world on sailing vessels with an affinity to water in the toilet…LOL …(I LOVE good humor…and that is great satire!!)
Then comes the CRUX of my pause… she says, I am hesitant to give him the “title”… of Maine Coon… cause MAYBE he’s not REALLY a Maine Coon. Hmmm MAYBE? REALLY? and how can one decide? An appeal to AUTHORITY of “breeders” who have an interest in having THEIR cats be the only REAL Maine Coons? A DNA test for ALL CATS claiming “purebred status”….then the Blogger asks a very good question that reflects our human tendency to worry about STATUS. “would we be a LAUGHING STOCK for presuming? Then says…NO WAY TO KNOW the truth. Well, the UPPER CRUST cat owners who would laugh, only do so because THEY were laughed at by someone once, or must laugh to justify their own self deception and pretense for following THAT elite group which by definition must be EXCLUSIVE of SOMEONE.
In the last paragraph she writes… I assign my skepticism and my families eagerness to give this “elite” status for our cat to HUMAN BEHAVIOR- How true, but I think the use of the word ELITE was hers. I certainly never saw a Maine Coon as “elite” In fact I have never determined the “ELITE” status of any of my dogs, cats, horses, or other less connected pets (my fish being my thot here or maybe the Aligator that outgrew its TERRARIUM and had to be given to the local University) by some Pedigree papers or authoritarian proclamation of a club …Why else would I have given away ANGELA with such AKC Papers and Kept BRUNO whose papers were SAID to have been lost? Because BRUNO was, and ever will be, the finest ST BERNARD to have ever befriended a boy/young man (I loved it when he would wait for me on campus near the language lab door until I finished so we could frolic across the quad and play with his Frisbee before heading home, his head out the window…where he made friends with too many smiles to count.)
My Blogger friend says it is because THEY must feel SAFER and more validated by AUTHORITY, PURE lineages, Elite STATUS, or “special feelings” While implying that she is DIFFERENT for her skepticism…when in fact it is that Skepticism that makes HER feel safer, and more validated when it places her among the intellectual elite who “Question”…(oh the curse of being a thotman or thotwoman) She then tries to JUSTIFY something that simply needs NO justification…Doubting. I have discovered it’s NOT a choice, and therefore needs NO APOLOGY. Neither is it a badge of honor… It is just a way of thinking that grows out of those first, unwelcome, doubts and ends up becoming part of us as we become comfortable with the ambiguity of so many possible answers to each new question.
In closing her blog, she says she doesn’t believe the CAT cares… She may be right, but I have MY doubts, for how we think about others(even animals) determines how we convey our feelings toward them…and they MUST care about (at least sense) that or they would never bond with anyone. I use this analogy too often, but Don Quixote’s view of Aldonza the whore, whether TRUE or not… made a difference, and it DID matter to her what his “narrative” of her was, else why would she have BECOME what he envisioned her to be? I think, too, that cats are more perceptive, and sensitive in ways similar to humans, than we give them credit for. So what is a MAINE COON? Not a PUREBRED, not a 100% genetically perfect animal, not an animal, which if even just 73.476 percent Maine Coon, need blush in shame at such “deficiency” in the eyes of the PROFESSIONAL SHOW CAT class. I just had a very troubling thot…I wonder if SNOOPY is “REALLY” a Beagle… Well, Here is a marvelous description I found…and in it, not once does it rely on pedigree or authority to describe what a Maine Coon is.
Your first impression is of size… Maine Coons are big cats. Big feet. Big ears. Big plumey tails held high. Good sized, often solid, bodies. Lots of fur. An adult male Maine Coon may weigh anywhere from 15 to 25 pounds (or more); females are usually smaller (even as light as ten pounds). Once you get to know them, though, you realize that Maine Coons aren’t really all that big. They are perfectly sized. It’s just that most other cats are so… … small.
Maine Coons are fluffy. Medium to long-haired fluffy fur that rarely mats. Fur you want to sink your hands into. Maine Coons are cats you want to pick up, touch, hold, carry, love, squeeze and pet. Maine Coons are truly huggable cats.
Maine Coons like to play. They play in the water bowl, they play in the sink. They play with cat dancers and waving feather toys. Many will play “fetch the mouse” (or fuzzy ball, or wad of paper). A number of them love to play “chase me”. Is it playtime now?
Maine Coons like to talk, but they talk differently from most cats. Maine Coons chirp, trill, and bleep. They have surprisingly small voices for such big cats (unless they are feeling particularly demanding). Never think a Maine Coon cannot attract attention when it wants to! Expect to have many conversations with a Maine Coon.
Maine Coons love to help. They are furry people. They want to help fold the laundry, help make the bed, help fix dinner, help you read the newspaper… whatever you’re doing, they’ll be happy to help. Or watch. Like all cats, Maine Coons are excellent supervisors. If you’re using the computer, they will help type. Maine Coons are excellent typists but not very good spellers.
The Maine Coons I’ve known love to lie on their backs and make a fluffy tummy. They love to have their tummies rubbed. Most love to be picked up and carried around the house (preferably while you rub their tummy).
Maine Coons are gentle, sweet-tempered, and polite. They love attention but they aren’t fussy or stuck-up. They know they’re beautiful. They know they’re wonderful.
Maine Coons are big warm purring teddy bears with soft fur and eyes you want to get lost in. They’re the perfect cat (I think). Other cats have endearing qualities, but ever since I fell in love with my first Maine Coon, they’re the only cat for me.