18.12.06

Aethelred the Unready

"Wait a minute! Hold on! I'm not ready to be introduced yet.
Give a little back story first to stall em!"


It's been a hard fall/winter at the Shalene household. Two of our pets, our diva ferret Donnatella Versace and our amazing cat Oscar Wilde, passed away between Halloween and Thanksgiving after fighting adrenal and liver cancer, respectively. Our remaining two ferrets, Umberto Eco and Max, both have recently developed cancer (adrenal and pancreatic, respectively), although Max's is further along. If ferrets live long enough, they'll get one of two cancers: pancreatic ("insulinoma") or adrenal ("adrenal"). Although he's doing very well now, (better than he has in months, in fact! YAY!), we thought Max a goner on Thursday night when he started convulsing at about 2AM. Once again, our amazing vet, Dr. Byron de la Navarre, his partner-in-veterinary care wife Tracey, and their wonderful staff quickly assessed the situation on Friday morning and sent us home with a regimen and realistic expectations. We expect to have Max for anywhere from a few months to a year or more depending on whether his cancer is benign or malignant, and Umberto will be around even longer than that. We just can't move too far away from the Animal House of Chicago any time soon.

We decided that for once we'd like to be sent home with a slap on the shoulder and a hearty "See you in a year!" That's why, though we've both always only adopted stray cats, we decided this time to buy a kitten through a breeder.

Meet Aethelred:

Aethelred waving "Hi!" to y'all with his ginormous polydactyl paw.

Both Shannon and I have been enchanted by Maine Coon cats for years. They grow to be between 18-25 pounds. They're soft. They're playful. They fetch. They think they're puppies. They have cool lynx-like ears and big fluffy tails. They chirp and chatter. They just seem like really cool, fun pets. Since Shannon actually grew up in Maine with polydactyl cats, buying a polydactyl Maine Coon also gives a nod and a grin to his heritage.

Besides, "polydactyl" sounds close to "pteradactyl" which is totally cool to my dork self. I mean, put some webbing between those toes and he can totally fly!

Apparently the paws of polydactyl Maine Coons develop first,
which explains why they're each twice the size of his head

Although we haven't officially named our new cat, we're referring to him as Aethelred (Ethel-red), and it'll probably stick. Unless we meet him and he turns out to be more of a "Bob" or "Duane."

"I have six claws on each paw and I'm not afraid to use them.
All's I'm saying is, don't call me 'Duane.'"


Aethelred the Unready was the king of England from 978-1016. He ascended to the throne at 10 and was surrounded by advisors who were hesitant to advise. Nobody, including him, liked to make decisions about things. He spent most of his reign fighting off viking raiders. One of the most effective methods he used was to throw mass quantities of silver at them to make them go away. We're giving our new kitty this name because 1) Shannon loves to give unusual cool names to his pets, and 2) it's medeival AND Anglo-Saxon! If it evoked an aura of orange it couldn't be more perfect for JoJo!

"Look at the silver on my nose! ....Why aren't you going away?"

We'll be picking up Aethelred from his breeder the first week of January. Only the anticipation of opening Christmas prezzies a week from now is keeping us from going absolutely mental from waiting! We can't wait to meet him!

5 comments:

Rev Transit said...

I love Aethelred as a name. You can always change the apposition to something else if his name doesn't quite fit: Aethelred the Clawful, Aethelred the Insistent, Aethelred the Ferret-Eater

shannon said...

Aethelred the Clearly-Loves-Shannon-More-Than-Jo

Mu said...

Aethelred the can-do-anything-he
-likes-since-Shalene-is-wrapped-
around-his-freakishly-big-paw

evandebacle said...

I lived with a polydactylous cat in college. He was a total freakin' spaz. Really only liked to eat calzones and pound cake.

Anonymous said...

Cute little kitten, congratulations! So sorry about the ferets' illnesses.
Jimmy