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.