Happy New Year

Once again, we apologise for the lack of recent updates. The problem was lack of access to a camera with memory to spare, but this has now been resolved, so expect normal service to resume shortly. The last part of 2011 was eventful for Sioux and it is a shame these events were not recorded and blogged as they happened. In particular, Siouxie was castrated by a vet, and any responsible cat blog would have included before and after photos, as well as blogging the cat’s psychological reactions to testicle-deprivation. Other events include Siouxie getting on Facebook (with Oli’s help), chasing ghost mice, sustaining a leg-wound, and for Christmas getting his first taste of catnip! Sadly we cannot share with you extensive video of these momentous events in the life of a cat. Although some does exist, and this will be shared, much of these experiences live only in the memories of his human staff. Expect written posts about these events over the next week however, which will try to capture the flavour of these experiences in prose.

Siouxie was out all night though, and for now is sleeping peacefully.

sleeping cat

Siouxie Bubb’s Beginnings

The origins of this cat are shrouded in intruige. Siouxie Bubbs, like most cats, must have been conceived inside a mother cat, probably some time around Christmas 2010 and born round early February. With the father unknown, there are suspicions the local tabby cat who has established a continuing rivalry with Sioux may be the culprit, owing to their similar looks. But it could be any cat.

early photo of cat
one of the earliest known photographs of Bubbs

The pregnant cat, or ‘Queen’ as they are sometimes known, gave birth to two kittens and it seems this was too much for the humanoids involved. Mother and kittens were abandoned – who by a mystery – on the doorstep of a kindly couple who took them in to foster.

Humanoids Angela and Corv called round, curious as to these cats. The mother, named Tiddles by the kindly fosters, was working flat out to raise the playful kittens. One kitten was roustabout and muscular, while the other tended to be the quieter, smaller and watchful of the siblings, retreating to the kitchen when Corv and Angela called, watching them with interest.

After a month or so in foster care, the boisterous sibling was the first to find a new home. Siouxie Bubbs was left, and the exhausted Tiddles allowed her still small remaining kitten to take Angela and Oliver on as his new staff.

Those early days and nights in Angela and Oliver’s home were stressful, Siouxie separated for the first time from mommy Tiddles (who had remained with the kindly fosters). The cat was named and Siouxie soon settled, finding joy in an old pink cloth mouse, various little rolling plastic cages with bells inside (these didn’t last long, a memorial to early kittenhood), three humanoids to interact with, and a shady garden to play in. Since Corv had agreed to volunteer as the cat’s carer too, Siouxie got to spend time at his place over the road, giving yet another house and garden for the young kitten to to explore…

The Moon When Leaves Dry

sioux on the garden path
Hunting in the afternoon

The last days of Summer, and Sioux’s been having a fine old time this week, in a playful mood, true to himself; there has been more play, more adventure, more growth. Sioux’s muscularity is becoming more defined, jumps are becoming more spectacular, and feats of daring more common and frankly brazen. It has been a strange old week, including a more meaty diet.

full moon from taiwanA couple of fights have not depressed him and his spirit is good.
Monday's Moon by photographer Chih-Hao Tsai

Becoming very confident crossing the road, a necessary commute between the two yards. It was usual to be carried across, but a few weeks ago Sioux disappeared from Angela’s back-yard and turned up in Corv’s. Now, if the cat wants to cross, he just does when he’s let out, following one or both of the humanoids crossing from house to house; sometimes straight to the target front door, sometimes he takes a more…leisurely route, hiding under cars, and mooching in gardens. Oliver won’t permit Siouxie Bubbs such freedom of movement however, and insists on carrying him over.
One of Sioux’s new tricks when let out the front of Angela’s yard is to dash over the road and up the gated alleyway a few doors down, only to return after a brief nose around, no doubt to fly up his tree.
On one such occasion recently, Corv, who had shut the door, appeared from a top window to check on Siouxie’s progress and reacted swiftly to the hissing yoowling cat fight happening just outside the front door.  Siouxie was under tabby attack, attempting to blend in with the undergrowth, bravely resisting the attack of one of the older tabbys in the area, who have seemed to treat his arrival in the area as a minor scandal. The adult cat beat it as soon as the door was opened and Siouxie, a little shaken, crept inside, needing a bit of encouragement. Here he is afterwards, wired and bristled ; he’s looking at the electric light, probably intrigued by a moth –

sioux in room
after the fight

After Siouxie’s nights when, his bluff called, he was left out all night, he tends towards returning when called now. Corv kept him in however for a night. Sioux was as you can see, slightly spooked. A good night in was required.
cat
There are many toys, games and insects over there, as well as Corv to attack and play with, and Sioux was in a particularly playful mood.

It wasn’t till the following day Sioux ventured into the back yard.

Siouxie Bubbs cleaning in yard
Chillin
sioux chilling in the yard
Yard time

After a day or two of this, including the merciless torment and slaughter of a spider – video evidence soon – Siouxie had some time back at Angela’s but tonight has come over back to Corv’s. After a good two and a half hours out in the full moonlit night, Sioux’s in, on his green chair after a meaty snack. Expect chaos and compassion.

Sioux once more stepped out into the night air to play. After another hour or so. Corv opened the door, and after half an hour Sioux stuck his head round the door, but darted back out again as soon as Corv made eye contact. Sioux was up for a game. After a few minutes of chase round the garden, Sioux finally retired.

August Photographs

Suzie’s not that keen on being photographed, and prefers pictures taken by stealth to those by direct confrontation. He is however feeling increasingly handsome:

Sioux's Hero Pose
Sioux's Hero Pose

Suzie allowed these photos to be taken as he relaxed in Corv’s room after a second all-nighter outside, and feels they capture the beginning of the transition from kitten to cat.

kitten
Looking Kitten

Reacts to camera
Sioux vs. camera

Looking Away
Looking away

profile
fully aware

closeup
Close-up

The Ministry of Chance

suzie watching
a deliberate juxtaposition of two nice cats

Suzie’s seen some mean looking cats out and about, but that’s nothing compared to internet cats. Check out Chance, pictured below!

a cat called Chance
An Untruthful and Accidental Photograph of a Nice Cat by Polly Nance
Scary huh? Sioux showed mild alarm, but is relieved to discover Chance lives on another continent, with photographer Polly Nance.

Sioux isn’t the only feline Suzie to appear on WordPress recently, as discovered using the tagsurfer feature. Surfing ‘feline’ brings up the whole crew of wordpress cats, including an invaluable cat communication guide over at Ferrier Felines.
But imagine the surprise here at Sioux Bubbs central on surfing the ‘suzie’ tag to see Suzie, One Mad and Clean Cat, over on the charming blog of Bev Pawlowski. A cat called Suzie – who would have thought it? Suzie, a “4 year old adult Calico Cat”, recently experienced the horror all domesticated cats must one day face – a bath!

Sioux sympathises, as he recalls well the day he was given a shower upon returning covered in some substance unwanted in the home. He too resisted any attempt to dry him. He would have cleaned himself eventually, and could not understand humans impatience. Towels represented a further indignity, but bedraggled and damp he had to submit, then retired, still bedraggled, to finish the job himself, slinking away, shaking his leg.

Sioux ‘Suzie’ Bubbs: an explanation

Sioux, like the Sphinx, expects many questions. Answers are rare.

Why such a long and complicated name? Why the girly nickname? Exactly what is going on with the cat’s gender? Why the funny spelling? Why Bubbs, or Bubbles?

Well, like Sioux himself, his name has an excellent if roundabout pedigree. When Suzie was a baby kitten, and first arrived at his new home from his original nursery, the humans involved had no idea if he was female or male. Humans almost never know a young kitten’s gender, finding it difficult to determine. This is because the openings under young kittens tails appear very similar, since a male kitten’s testicles have not yet descended to fill the scrotal sac.

Oliy chose ‘Bubbs’ as a name, and said it was because the kitten has a bubbly personality. Fair enough, thought Bubbs; after all, he did.

With Bubbs’ gender still fluid, Angela decided to call her ‘Suzie’, because the kitten reminded her of

Siouxsie Sioux
Siouxsie Sioux
Sioux Suzie
Sioux Suzie

Siouxsie Sioux, the great punk singer, real name Susan Ballion.

Ballion? Never heard that name before, but a little digging reveals a Scottish word, meaning a knapsack, a tinker’s box, or any box you can carry on your back. But we can go further back in time: the Egyptian word B3h, meaning ‘foreskin or phallus’, it has been suggested, may be traced to an indo-european root word ‘b-l’. Meanwhile, the Greek word phallus was replaced in later Ionian with Ballion.

When it became obvious he was dropping testicles, not ballions,  at the appointed time, it was felt a cat need not conform to human genders, so the names stuck. Suzie was a good name as was Bubbs. Put together they make Suzie Bubbs. Alternatively, Sioux sounds exactly the same as Sue, but the spelling isn’t a girl’s name, so that seemed like a good idea. Hence: Sioux ‘Suzie’ Bubbs.

But what a complicated identity! Let’s see if we can unpick the name any more for the history of its ideas, like we did with ‘Ballion’.

Sioux
Most people know this name for a particular nation or group of Native American peoples, native since before early modern Europeans came to colonise in the late 15th century. What many do not know is that the Sioux called themselves the Dakota people, or Lakota in some transliterations. The name Dakota means the Allies. The word Sioux, not a Dakota word at all, was what the Dakota were called by the Anishinabe people. When the Anishinabe wanted to refer to the Dakota, they would say ‘Sioux’, just as we might say ‘Yank’ when we refer to an American. Suzie’s not sure how friendly the Anishinabe were with the Dakota, but the word Sioux does not mean ‘the Allies’. It means ‘Little Snakes’.

Suzie
Like Susan amongst human names, Suzie is short for Susanna, a fine old name from Hebrew via Greek. It means ‘lily’, which is toxic to cats, but may come from the Egyptian name Sšn, meaning ‘lotus’.

Bubbs
Short for bubbles, a much younger word, noted from the early 14th century, and may come from the Dutch word bobble. According to a google translation from the Dutch wikipedia, ‘Bobble’ means a bump or lump on the body, and “in sexual terms: visibility of masculinity”.

How ironic, in the midst of all this confusion, Angela chose a name which traces to an ancient word for lotus, after Siouxsie Sioux (or Little snake), while Oliy chose a name which means testicles.
Putting all this together, one unavoidable conclusion presents itself. The true academic/mythological meaning of Suzie’s name is:

                       Little-snake Lotus Testicles

That’s the etymological translation of ‘Sioux Suzie Bubbles’. Suzie Bubbs shares the decree of this deeper name for educational purposes in good faith, and will not be responsible for the consequences if it is used a form of address.
More posts in this category, History of Suzie Bubbs coming soon.