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…

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Science and Sioux Bubbles

Humans love looking for understandable, repeatable patterns. In this task they use a particular methodology they call science, which tends to see itself as a repository of objective truth about life, the universe and everything. Sioux sees science as a great game to play, but gets confused over the rules. Sioux ‘Suzie Bubbs’ Bubbles is aware of the power of naming, and science is not excepted, making values with words. ‘Parasite‘, for example: disgusting free-loaders that harm their hosts just to survive? Or are they fellow travellers who enjoy a symbiotic relationship with some and a predatory relationship with others, just like all animals? Who decides if an animal is a pest or a pleasure? Essential or vermin? It depends on your point of view, a question of philosophy as much as science. Whatever name you use, it will mean something other than what you want it to mean.

Confusion increases when journalists get hold of science ideas and they tend to spin them, off into ideas of their own that don’t necessarily accurately report the actual science.

This affects cats. Humans love reading the latest theories about cats, and may change their behaviour accordingly. For this reason, starting this week, Suzie will endeavour to catch, play with, scratch, chew, disembowel and deliver to you the latest and greatest felinology news on the planet, with incisive and rigorous commentary, purring at some, hissing at others. Suzie is not a qualified scientist, and does not promise objectivity or freedom from bias and personal motivations: he is, after all, a cat. Suzie does promise to blog cat science without fear, but with felicity, fun and fidelity.

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.