Tuesday, May 3, 2011


As you know if you've been alertly reading BDR (as you should) or the comments section here, the most exciting world event in recent weeks is that we adopted a cat. We don't know if he has a name for himself, and wouldn't be able to pronounce it even if we did, so for convenience we're calling him Boorman (After the guy who directed the three best movies ever made, not after a Nazi who, you have to admit, spells his name differently, come on people. Oh, by the way, incredibly creepy sex towards the end of that Excalibur clip, be warned.). Here's the best picture taken of him yet, courtesy of the Baronette.

The rest of the pictures in this post are by me this morning, I'm not much for the photography, but hey.

He's about two years old. He's been in shelters for a least a year, which is hard for me to believe considering how beautiful he is, although his initial shyness may have put off any number of potential takers. I don't know what his life was like before he was in the shelters--I know he was found as a stray, but it seems unlikely that he would have been that way from the very beginning. He's a siamese mix--he's shaped just like a siamese (not the skinny little siamese, the bulkier kind, I don't know what the technical term is), but with patches of darker gray tiger stripes in various places on him and a short little raccoon tail, and he's absolutely beautiful. And huge. When he rolls over onto his back or his side and stretches out to his full length (which he spends about 70% of his waking time doing), he's gotta be at least three feet long. I haven't quite managed to get a picture of that, but this is close (though of course you've got nothing for scale there, but whatever):

The Baronette has had cats for most of her life, but this is my first pet outside of the occasional fish in my childhood. I knew it would be intense, but I wasn't prepared for this. I've loved individual humans before, and I've loved animals in general, and I've even been really good friends with individual animals before, but I've never loved an individual animal before, and it's like nothing else. The past couple of weeks have been a wonderful emotional rollercoaster, especially because like so many cats do he had a hard time adjusting to new surroundings and new people at first. He's still often skittish, but for about a week now he's been coming out from his hiding spot behind the couch more and more, and he's getting better all the time; every day he conquers another of his fears (one day he hangs out with us in the kitchen while we're making dinner, the next day he curls up next to us on the couch and falls asleep). Every time he does, my heart explodes. Sometimes it's incredibly, shockingly difficult: a few nights ago I was in tears because after a few days of being very friendly to me he suddenly seemed like he hated me, while being perfectly fine with the Baronette; it wasn't that I was jealous--if he had been scared of both of us I could have written it off as just a day's backslide, but that he was still into her made me wonder if he had just decided to dislike me, specifically. The next morning, I was in my bedroom, saw him sitting in the living room; I beckoned to him and he came to me from that distance for the very first time. We've been friends ever since.

He still has a long way to go to be truly comfortable and happy here, but he's gonna make it, and I think sooner rather than later. He's a total purr machine and extraordinarily affectionate; he's the type to head-butt your hand if you put it near him, and he rolls over for belly rubs at the drop of a hat. For the most part he hasn't been very talkative, but as I was composing this post he started screeching at me to come keep him company and relieve his anxiety at some of the goddamn eternal deafening yardwork that is the bane of his existence and mine. After a while of me petting him he started to feel better, and now he's just staring, fascinated, into the mirror.


BDR said...


What does he like to play with? This is true: almost every cat I've owned likes to play with hairclips (Fleabus will play fetch with one for hours), the plain ones with the narrow fake amber piece of plastic over the metal clip itself. Leave the clip unlatched.

Thanks again for the rescue.

thebaronette said...

He's one fine cat alright.

He plays the most with a shoestring, but loves the cork from a bottle of beer when it isn't pushed underneath the heaters. (Also, he really digs the scratching post I built him!)

Definitely gonna try hairclips out. Wonder if he'd deem old lady rollers a bit too kitschy...

Thanks BDR!

Justin said...

I have a very distinct memory from my childhood. We had a cat when I was 5 or 6 and I used to torment the thing. I wasn't trying to be mean, but I didn't understand that pulling its tails or squeezing it was not something cats liked. And I remember the moment when it clicked, I realized that it mattered if the other party was miserable in an interaction, that that was not 'play' time anymore. It sounds goofy, but I have the impression that my first bit of empathy for another being besides myself was for the cat. And we became best friends after that.

I am more of a dog person now, but I really loved that one cat, and later, I really liked one that made it 20 years old with my mom.

Good luck with the cat. Try not to be too hurt by the cold shoulder, that's basic cat behavior.

Ethan said...

BDR, of course!

And yeah, he loves that shoelace. For a while he was obsessively moving it into his food dish, but that seems to have stopped for now.

Justin, it's funny--when we were taking him home from the shelter, the Baronette said something very similar about empathy. If you want to have a good relationship with a pet, you have to be willing to try to put yourself in their place and see things from their perspective.

Anonymous said...

Great looking cat Ethan. Love his eyes. Have two of my own, they keep me sane when the world isn't. Both are korats, 3yr old girl and 6yr old boy. The little girl has a thing for stuffed animals, and will drag them all over the place. It's always a good laugh when I look down at my feet and see stuffed animals piled among receipts and whatever else they could bring me.

Richard said...

Excellent save. Cats rule.

BDR said...

Dr G - your cats may show up elsewhere tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Hah! They can have that affect on people :-)

Soj said...

Cats are awesome :D Congratulations!

Ethan said...

dr gonzo--awww, your cats are adorable. Look at 'em all nestled up like that.

Richard, Soj, thanks!

Randal Graves said...

I second everyone's very cools.

Ethan said...


what the Tee Vee taught said...

It's a wondrous photograph. One of the cats that lives with me, goes by the name Bagel, has and uncanny relation to Mr. Boorman — same face, same tail, same undercarriage (by "same" I mean... you know). As a result of the physical similarities between Mi'ter Boorman and the Bagel: I am very pleased.

I'm beautifully torn on your wall paint. But... your movie collection does look stupid. Is it?

You ever hold a Derrick Jensen book?

If not, do. If so, let's talk about it!

what the Tee Vee taught said...

Ah yes, I could have typed his name into your search bar before asking, which would have changed everything.

Ethan said...

Hmm, stupid...compared to what? Anyway, that's not really our house, it's a studio mock-up.

Bagel sounds like a real winner.

I'm probably gonna be holding Endgame vol 2 soon, so I'll probably be talking at y'all about it before too long (i.e., a time measured in months rather than, say, years), but in the meantime--feel free to talk at me. Which one did you hold?

Nice hearing from you, how's life been?