King Aethelred & Queen Boudica

Meet the kids!

We brought them home last Saturday, January 6. Aethelred is Shannon's 36th birthday gift, and Budica is MINE! MINE MINE MINE!! MY kitty! MINE!



Last Saturday Shannon and I travelled to the Ohio/Indiana/Kentucky border - a journey of about 300 miles each way - to pick up Aethelred last Saturday. Rev was live-blogging the whole time, or at least the whole time after 8AM.

We left Chicago at 4AM when it was still very dark and sunrise was hours away, so we missed the boring part of the drive (northern Indiana) on the way there. The breeder, Janet, was MIA when we arrived, but thanks to the ever-vigilant Rev we were able to track down her cell phone number. We had to wait about two hours for her to show up, but it wasn't too cold and we knew she was on her way so we made the most of it by counting the reasons why we should not smash inher windows to get to where the cats were whom we could hear playing JUST A FEW MADDENING INCHES AWAY FROM WHERE WE WERE STANDING.

Janet arrived about two hours after we did, but any minor (and it was indeed minor!) irritation we might have felt melted away instantly as she brought us inside to play with the dozen or so kittens - including Aethelred - she had on hand awaiting their new homes and bipeds. She offered us the choice of Aethelred or his brother, but we never hesitated in our decision. Aside from our already having our hearts set on his little silver nose and lynx ears, Aethelred was far more confident and playful than his brother. He and Shannon played with a toy identical to the one we'd just bought for him at a little shop on Damen in Chicago the day before (shown below), while Janet and I met the available adult females she had on hand and filled out paperwork.

She had mentioned beforehand that she had a few adult female cats available for adoption, so we'd brought along an extra carrier, you know, just in case. We'd agreed that we did not want to bring a second cat home unless we really felt we'd really bond with it.

I immediately bonded with Boudica (boo-DEE-kuh). Her name at the time was "B" - not "Bea," the letter "B." She followed me attentively as I roamed about the room, played with the kittens, came over to her cage. The other available cat had no chance, and there was no question we would be bringing B home. There was also no question her name would be changed - just as soon as she told us what it was.....

Due to the misunderstanding in our arrival time (we understood that we'd be there Saturday, Janet understood that we'd be freaks to leave Chicago before 9AM and was a bit startled to learn we'd actually left at 4AM); we ended up leaving Janet's place about two hours later than we'd expected. By the time we left it was getting dark, so we missed the boring part of the drive (northern Indiana) on the way back. The cats travelled EXTREMELY well. Their "meows" are tiny to begin with, which is typical of the Maine Coon, but they just settled in and waited to see what awaited them when we stopped. Well, stopped the fourth time. We stopped for a shake, gas, Starbucks THEN we stopped the car for good at home.

We'd initially changed B's name to "Hazel" on the way home because her colouring is a beautiful, rich hazel and we both thought it was a pretty name. We realized quickly, however, that the name really didn't suit her. Not that she isn't pretty! She's gorgeous. But she's just not a "Hazel..." I didn't like the way the "Z" sounded when I called her for one thing - sounded too much like a hiss. I kept coming back to the "B" sound. We changed her name to Boudica about....13 minutes ago. Maybe 14.

I love that we have to provide pronounciations along with our cats' names. Reminds me of the Mexican restaurant in Oxford where all the dishes had pronounciations next to them - "kay-suh-DEE-yuhs;" "mar-gu-REE-tuh;" "fuh-HEE-tuhs." Reading that menu after being seated in a Mexican restaurant by a young Japanese woman with a crisp English accent and waited on by a tall, thin blonde Nordic woman while pale English youths prepared the food in back brought the whole "you're not in Chicago anymore - full stop." thing home for me right there.

But I digress.

Queen Boudica was the wife of a wealthy Iceni chief in England during the Roman occupation. Her husband, Prasutagus, had the foresight to try to provide for his family by making the Roman Emperor Nero co-heir with his daughters in the event of his death. When he did die, the Roman Governor, Suetonius Paulinus (not to be confused with the author of 12 Caesars, Suetonius) had another idea. His plan was not to share the land with Boudica, but to have her publically flogged while her daughters were raped by slaves in front of her eyes before taking all of Prasutagus' land and stuff.

Boudica was pissed.

She retaliated by leading the Iceni in a revolt that was initially very successful. They raided cities and took back great amounts of land - they even burnt down the early settlement of Londinium, what is now known as London, and nearby St. Albans before reinforcements for the Romans arrived. 10,000 of them.

Still Boudica pushed on. She rallied the mainly male troops with cries of, "Win the battle or perish - that is what I, a woman, will do. You men can live on in slavery if that's what you want." She and her daughters headed the charge.

Ultimately the Iceni were no match for the rallied Roman troops. 80,000 Britons were slaughtered according to one account in comparison with 400 Roman troops. Boudicae took poison and killed herself rather than to allow herself to be captured by her enemies. She died in 61 AD.

Aethelred cowering upon hearing the battle-cry of Boudica:

Boudicae shown here with King Richard I, mounted on Fauvel, no less,
to show just how absolutely freaking huge she is.

Aethelred shown here with King Richard I to show just how teensy weensy and cute he is!

Queen Boudica predated King Aethelred by about 950 years, and our new cat Boudica is older than our new kitten Aethelred, so we figure we're keeping things historically accurate. To fulfill our conditions for cat-naming - both were English monarchs, and both had weird, erm, I mean, unusual names.

Aethelred is a very confident kitten and has the run of our apartment. Budica's a bit shy but promises to be a very loving and sweet cat. It cracks us up how she tries to sneak past us to slip into a room unnoticed - head down, feet moving quickly - but she weighs about 15 pounds. She has about as much chance of going anywhere unnoticed in our apartment with its hardwood floors as Fauvel would.


Claire said...

She weighs more than Jake! Rock on, how great is that? My friend Rebecca's cat weighs 20 lbs., and that's without the mass of fur he has, and that cat's a rag doll. So there's no way a Maine coon cat will be beaten, she will enjoy Shalene's good cooking and emerge victorious; her online pyramid tracking will put other cats to shame. (Yegads, the thought of even entering the food that's happened here exhausts me.)

And how great is it seeing the King with the British magazine, but of course. We will notify all British cats we see that the colonies have again emerged victorious in their kitty-cat-cuteness. Oneth by land, twoeth back home to Shalene!

Mu said...

Good kitties! Uncle Mu approves.