Rabbit Holes & Moving Vahhns

The other day, one of my favorite podcasts On The Media interviewed Maria Popova.  Popova edits an interesting site called Brainpickings.  I share in Popova’s excited tone.  She says “One of the most magical things about the Internet is that it’s a whimsical rabbit hole of discovery – we start somewhere familiar and click our way to a wonderland of curiosity and fascination we never knew existed.”  She speaks of “an intricate ecosystem of ‘link love’” – a chain that “allows us to discover new wonderlands through those we already know and trust.”

“Link love” into new wonderlands, through those friends we know and trust.  I’d say that’s a pretty succinct description of my blog experience with you, friendly readers.

So the known and trusted friends up today are Julia Williams of Responsible Pet Ownership and Layla of Cats 101 – and commenter Anne D, who first suggested that Fang may have some Turkish Van in him.

Recently Julia did a post on Vans.  This breed was brought from the Lake Van area of Turkey to Britain in 1955, and subsequently recognized here as a breed in its own right.  It’s thought that the temperature extremes led these cats to develop the somewhat unusual attribute of liking water.  Haven’t asked Fang to swim yet . . . but our great friend Gus, over at ThreeCat Yard, might like to lead the way into this water-sports enterprise.

Wouldn’t it be something, if Fang’s homeland looks something like this:

Lake Van, Eastern Turkey

photo by gozturk

The Van purebred is apparently “rare” and rigorously provenanced, though, so Julia says no matter how much a cat may resemble the Van, it’s most unlikely that any Vans would make their way to becoming a rescue-cat like Fang.  Still.  Provenance or no provenance, the similarities between the Van’s markings and attributes, and Fang’s, leap out.

Here’s a picture showing classic Van markings:

photo by Zack Pharr

One of the things I specially love about Fang is his extra-floofy coat (another Van attribute).  And especially his cute, oh-so-chic striped chapeau.

Layla’s cat Odin has one exactly like it.  Check out the pictures here, especially the “I wish” picture at the end.  And while you’re over chez Layla, see how generous and freely open a cat Odin is.  He’s totally unashamed to demonstrate why the world is his litterbox.  The picture captioned “Ah, the sweet satisfaction of being one with nature” is one I wish I had poster-sized.

Here’s a Wikipedia description of Vans, which totally rings true:  “Turkish Vans are very intelligent, and will easily take over their home and owners. Vans are people cats that want to be with people wherever they go. They like to play and jump and explore anything in their reach, which is quite large. They are energetic; they play hard and sleep hard. Many Vans are dedicated to fetching their particular object of interest, and many owners describe them as ‘dogs in a cat suit’ because of their unusual personalities.”

My heart leaped at that “fetching object of interest” thing.  Fang does this!  He has developed a passion so deep and abiding, for a homemade shoestring-toy, that I call it the Shoelace of Eternal Delight.

He fell in love with this thing at first sight, back when he was imprisoned in Base Camp.

When he first got out and had the run of the place, he would delicately grab the Shoelace of Eternal Delight in his teeth and run off with it into the next room, with the lace and the wand dragging on the floor under his belly just like a lion with its prey.  After a while, though, I got tired of chasing after him.  Very, very tired.

Now he’s learned to grab the Shoelace of Eternal Delight in his teeth and stalk around me in a circle, dragging it all the way round back to the front of me, where he then drops the Shoelace of Eternal Delight and looks up at me.  If this isn’t “fetch,” I’ll don’t know what.

Fangie!  I’m so proud!

It now means, however, that the Shoelace of Eternal Delight game has become truly, everlastingly endless.  Remember how I played with Fang for four hours straight once, during the Base Camp period?  Fang can play “fetch” now for a virtually unlimited – eternal – period.  I play with him until I drop, and then he goes and runs Bugs around some.

Julia Williams had this to say, about Turkish Vans:  Some folks call them “moving vans.”  That’s Van as in “Vahhn,” by the way.

That’s our Faaahhng.

Moves so fast even his vowels won’t stay put.

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About nadbugs

Anita loves cats. This must be because she, too, has had nine lives. She’s been dancing since she could walk, she was a commercial artist and advertising producer, she earned a third-degree black belt in Aikido, she is a drummer with the Afrique Aya Dance Company, she is an attorney, and she’s a meditator and a devoted student of Nonviolent Communication. She also spent one lifetime sidelined with a devastating back injury in 1992. Since then – FELDENKRAIS METHOD® to the rescue. The FELDENKRAIS METHOD is all about dreaming concretely – thinking intelligently and independently by way of a gracious and kind physicality. The work affords all who study it a process by which to reach, with movement, into the mind and the heart, to make nine lives into one whole being.
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22 Responses to Rabbit Holes & Moving Vahhns

  1. CATachresis says:

    I was going to make the Faaahng Vahhn joke! lolol. I think I’ve become a fahhn of Fahhng the Vahhn! OMC he is beautiful and I am soooo happy those two guys are getting along, though it sounds like you might be demanding respite care sometime in the not so distant future! x

  2. Thanks for mentioning Odin and Cat Wisdom 101. I think Fang and Odin are kissing cousins ;-)

  3. Dianda says:

    Turkish Vans are so beautiful!
    lovely post, I enjoyed it. :)

  4. He really could be! Run a shallow warm bath and toss in the Shoelace of Eternal Delight. Should let you know right away where his priorities lie! Of course, then you might have a wet, happy, cat.

  5. Oh that is so funny! I’ve often called Leo a ‘carrier’ because he will carry around toys, even ones that you dont see typically carried like stringy toys sorta like the Shoelace of Eternal Delight (love the name by the way!) But oh my gosh, he doesnt bring these toys to me for play! That Fang does is far too awesome! And his chapeau! Adorable!!
    I wonder if Bugs can be taught to swing the Shoelace of Eternal Delight… A cat on each end, fun for both and respite for mommy! MOL

  6. PlumaBlanca the working cat here, Wow, another cat that can fetch! I thought I was the only one.
    (My Dad calls me ‘a little white doggie’ cause I fetch so well.) I will fetch all day and all night, a shoelace, a mousie, even a piece of paper. I live to fetch! I bring it to Daddy and say a soft ‘meow, I got it!’ I even bring my toys to bed and want Mom to throw them so I can get them again.

  7. Thanks for the shout out to my article on the Turkish Van. I really enjoyed this post. Fangie may very well be that Van needle in a shelter haystack!! Certainly has the markings and some of the characteristics. Does his coat get a lot thicker in winter and then become more like a short haired cat in summer? Maybe you should run him some water in the tub and see what he does, MOL.

    • nadbugs says:

      A pleasure to shout you out, dear Julia. I don’t know about Fang’s coat — haven’t had him long enough to know. He is shedding like mad now, though, so probably! What if he is a rare Vahhn! Escaped from the confines of the palace! Out in the real world! Like Siddhartha.

  8. Ivy says:

    I am. In love. With Fangie. Such an adorable boy! I get the impression that he actually poses for the pictures. If you test the water thing… let us know :-P
    Such a great post. He must be posing for you to snap these great pictures!

    • nadbugs says:

      He is a complete maniac character. I am learning to adore him. I will let you know about the water — so far no sign of it plus we have no bathtub here — so — let’s see what develops. The sink? So far Bugs goes in the sink. But not Fang. He’s too clumsy.

  9. seybernetx says:

    We know what Maria means about diving down a rabbit hole. Sometimes we ‘ll spend a couple hours bouncing from link to link to link to link . . . .

    The only problem is if you want to check back on something, about half the time you have no way to retrace your steps.

    Maybe you can find a battery operated toy to give Fangie a work out, and give you and Bugs a break.

    • nadbugs says:

      Hey, yeah. A battery robo-play-with-Fang thing. Fantastic idea. And a battery robo-trace-link thing too, while we’re at it. We’re cookin’ with the good ideas over here!

  10. Daisy says:

    Fangie looks like such a doll! My Dot has similar markings (down to the stripey chapeau); too bad she didn’t get the memo that Vahhns are supposed to like playing fetch!

    • nadbugs says:

      Really? Interesting. With Fangie, he’s only doing fetch with the object of his obsession. (Shoelace of Eternal Delight.) I wish he’d do balls, too — but no dice. Perhaps your Dot hasn’t found her obsession yet.

  11. Pingback: A Thousand Words | catself

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