Elmer Elevator the Maine Coon Cat
Elmer Elevator, the Maine Coon cat, died at the vet Tuesday. He was our wedding kitten to one another nine years ago. The "Bubba San's" was the registered name the breeder stuck him with.
"Elmer Elevator" was the name of the boy hero of my favorite kid book, "My Father's Dragon." He ran away to Wild Island to free a baby dragon the mean jungle animals had tied up, to force the baby dragon to fly them back and forth over the crocodile-infested river. An old alley cat Elmer Elevator had fed and let sleep by the kitchen fire had told him about the dragon, because she used to be a ship's cat and had sailed all over the world.
For the first few months, every night when we were asleep in the dark bedroom, Elmer the kitten would savagely attack our feet, and we'd wake up screaming. We thought he was wild and insane. Eventually we saw a documentary about a park ranger who took in an orphan bobcat. Wiggling feet under the bedclothes triggers their instinct to leap on prey crawling underneath snow. The ranger had to teach himself to sleep perfectly still, as we did. Eventually Elmer grew out of it.
An e-mail (slightly amended) to a friend:
He was about 2/3 bobcat. My guess is that a very long time ago there was an unfortunate romantic accident in the woods between some kind of housecat and a bobcat. A more familiar face and fur pattern makes them look raccoon-ish, but of course that's impossible, there wasn't a drop of raccoon in him. He had enormous paws, like catcher's mitts.
We worried about him and traffic, but I'm so glad we let him have his right to be an outdoor hunter. It was clearly the life he loved. We don't own them, they've chosen, they've agreed to live with us, and we have no right to make the house their prison, even if our motives are loving and pure. (Jailers always believe their motives are loving and pure. The prisoners may have a different opinion.)
Labels: Elmer Elevator Maine Coon Cat