Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Short Treatise on Cats

I confess - I am a cat person. We had a marvelous collie when I was growing up and we loved him to death! He actually was my grandmother's, but during WWII he was drafted into the army, trained, used in the war, and when they returned him to my grandmother, she thought it wiser to send Colonel to us on the farm instead of keeping him in Salt Lake City where she lived. (The rest of the story is that he became the constant companion of my brother who was killed, hit by a car when he was delivering newspapers, and a few short months later Colonel died of a broken heart.)

But on to my cats. There have been very few of my 72 years that I have not shared my residence with at least one cat. You notice, I did not say "owned a cat." I do not believe we own cats. Dogs, yes. Cats, no. They are too independent. But I'm having the most fun with my work in progress - still titled "ghost story" for want of something else. (It's been known by that title for 15 years, so I guess until I find the right one, it will stick.)

In the original story which I began writing between Emeralds and Pearls 15 years ago, the cat was a big orange tabby cat. It didn't change over the year, like some elements of the story. But as I reached about Chapter 10, I met an entirely new breed and fell in love! We had a sisters reunion in Palm Springs at one of my cousins, and four other cousins came too, so we had a a fun group and one had two cats. I don't even remember the second one because I became so enamored with Ziggy.

Ziggy is a Sineglazka Siberian cat - Russia's native cat. It has been recorded as far back as 1000 AD. It's known to be an exceptionally high jumper, strong, powerfully built, well proportioned. They have beautiful facial markings - are usually silver-gray - can be mistaken for a cousin of the Siamese and some have point markings. The fur is long - but they are hypoallergenic. They have a huge long tail and I felt like I was holding my heavy two-year-old grandson - probably 25 pounds worth! (Maybe only 20!)

They are extremely intelligent, mature slowly, taking up to five years to reach full size. They remain playful and fun loving all this time. They are, alas, very expensive. I'm not even talking hundreds of dollars - try thousands! And their eyes are the most gorgeous ice blue you have ever seen!

The parents of Ziggy were born in Russia, immigrated to the US on Aeroflot in a special wooden carrier with food and water - nonstop to LA. My cousin flew to Las Vegas from her home in Salt Lake, retrieved Ziggy and flew back the same day. Her words as she told me this were: "They are a tad expensive and it was less money to fly down and back to get him than shipping him via Delta."

You have now been introduced to the newest character in my book. Her name is Duchess (the females are called queens so I thought that was appropriate.) She has an affinity for ghosts, which works well with this story. I love her! Fortunately, this is not a straight work of fiction - after Jennie's blog I guess I would have to slip it into the supernatural genre - but then, I don't usually read that genre so I'm not sure.

At any rate, I'm having so much fun with this marvelous animal I just had to tell you about it. Val, I wish I could introduce you to the species! I have fallen in love all over again!

A fun aside: Russian president Dmitry Medvedev and his wife own a type of Siberian cat, a Neva Masquerade male cat named Dorofey. Dorofey used to fight with a cat belonging to Mikhail Gorbachev who was Medvedev's neighbor. So the Medvedevs had to have Dorofey neutered. Thought you might like that little bit of minutia.


Valerie said...

How wonderful, Lynn! I can hardly wait to meet Duchess (and yes, a perfect name). I wish everyone could appreciate cats like you do. Right now the Utah House and Senate are considering a bill making it okay to shoot any cat thought to be a feral cat (in unincorporated areas, of which there are plenty in Utah). I just get so frustrated with people sometimes. I think cats (and dogs) are so much easier to love sometimes.

Jennie said...

I think I saw one of those cats once. A little girl was holding a huge gray long hair that made my mouth drop. The girl was probably about six and the cat's big head was beside her chin and the cat's rear end brushed the ground. The child was almost bent backward trying to hold the cat which wasn't struggling or trying to escape. I wondered if it was a cross between a Persian and a Main Coon Cat, but now I wonder if it was one of Russian cats. It was beautiful and I've thought many times that I'd like to have a cat like that.