Monday, March 29, 2010

Wilbur in Profile

As it turns out, the flap of skin hanging from Wilbur's underside is a feature of the kind of cat he turns out to be -- mostly -- an Egyptian Mau, which is Englyptian for Chat Francais or English Cat. My daily accusations that he had let himself go over the years have been misplaced and unfair, but no less necessary or hilarious. A housecat's self-image must be carefully managed lest it run to full-blown hubris.

I learned of the Egyptian Mau from a profile of the breed on the banally evil Animal Planet tee-vee program, Cats 101, which occupies a substantial portion of the channel's airtime not devoted to Dogs 101 or the execrable Animal Cops.

I can confirm that Wilbur is a speedy and relatively active cat, which is the best excuse I can presently think up for the poor framing of this photograph, which attempts to highlight his gray fleshy speed flap against a gray background. He moves around a lot, and I have only so much patience for trying to herd him in front of a properly contrasting background.

Also, his eyes are really that red, especially when he's trying to use telepathy to immobilize prey or persuade someone to change the channel to Animal Planet.

As I mentioned above, he's no pure-bred anything; he was free for the taking, chosen for being the most vocal and mobile of a four-kitten caboodle. His vocal habits, his coloration, and especially his longing for what most cats would regard as physical abuse suggest he has a little Siamese in him.

My son was deep into Charlotte's Web at the time, so he chose the name Wilbur, and I've since corrupted that to Wilson, "the beast that nobody likes," and other insulting variants, again as a means of keeping his self-image in check. It has not worked. He is smitten with himself, more than ever now that he is revealed as belonging (mostly) to the fastest, and quite possibly founding, breed of domesticated cat.

We're all pretty smitten with him, but don't tell.


Rebecca said...

My cat, Theo, looks very similar. I can't tell whether he's mostly Egyptian Mau or Ocicat; they have a lot in common. For all I know, he may be all of one of those things. He talks a lot, so maybe he's trying to tell me about himself and his lineage. Or maybe he's making fun of me because I still don't speak cat.

Domestically Challenged said...

Dale, I kid you not, I had the same revelation about my beloved cat, Star (d), when I saw that episode of Cats 101! I always thought she was just a silver tabby yet she had the wrong build for it, or perhaps some failed attempt a new breed because she had very defined spots when she was younger. But that paunch, I never understood the paunch! She's a Mau! She can fly!

Dale said...

Rebecca, DC, apparently we're all drawn to the same cats. We all cherish our children's future, and we are all mortal, yadda yadda.

Anyhoo, a delicate question -- is your Mau-looking cat into S&M? I'm really not, but Wilbur is. It's surprising -- at times, alarming -- what kind of abuse he'll take and then run, not walk, back to me for more of the same.

Here's to beautiful cats, without whom life would be a mistake.

Anonymous said...

My cat is almost identicle to yours but she has blue eyes so I've always thought her to be part Siamese (and the attitude issues). Re-thinking that. I feel horrible that for the last couple years her nickname has been Fupa-Kitty. Now I know that weird sack makes he awesome (like her owner). Poor Mau cat's, it looks so much like a fupa though...