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Psycho killer, Qu’est-ce que c’est?

scottish wildcat

This, O my minions, is no pussycat. It’s a Scottish wildcat (Felis sylvestris grampia) — pound for pound, one of the evillest badass mofo’s on the whole mo-effing planet. Srsly.

About ten thousand years ago, two things happened in Catworld. Somewhere in the Near East, maybe out Iraq way, the ubiquitous wildcat, Felis sylvestris, up and self-domesticated its own self. Just rolled over, waved its legs in the air and showed mankind its collective fuzzy belly, becoming adorable Cheezburger-wantsing, succotash-suffering Felis sylvestris catus on the spot.

At the same time, two thousand miles to the North and West, the land bridge connecting Britain and France was drowned by global warming, isolating the local population of Felis sylvestris, which promptly morphed into Felis baddassicus mofocus. The bite of a radioactive spider may have been involved.

The Scottish wildcat is truly one of the wildest animals alive. It cannot be tamed. Hand rearing them from itty-bitty psycho-kittens makes not one bit of difference. Fancy Feast? Fuggidaboudid! A zookeeper who will happily go into a tiger’s cage will not go into the enclosure of a wildcat he raised from babyhood. A wildcat will attack anything and everything in its territory, including another wildcat. They were believed to be maneaters until the Fifties.

The Wildwood Trust, where Uncle B and I go to par-tay with the musty-lids, has a pair of Scottish wildcats. Never has a hating of my guts been communicated to me more eloquently through mere eyeballs. They made the wolf pack look like pussies.

The prehistoric version was up to four feet long, but modern wildcats are cat sized. They look like…adorable housecats. Like a squarer, chunkier Damien. Their tails are thick, and their ears kind of stick out sideways, but they’re totally catty in their catlikeness.

Felis sylvestris grampia

And that’s the problem: they’re interbreeding themselves out of existence. Like wolves and coyotes with dogs, wildcats freely interbreed with domestic cats. That’s the deal with keeping some in captivity, though captivity is clearly hateful to them: there may be as few as 400 purebred Scottish wildcats left. I’m not down with the hand-flapping over every newt and guppy and little brown bird that loses a bit of territory, but 400. That’s Siberian tiger kind of endangered.

Anyhow, dude has made a documentary about Scottish wildcats, due out on DVD this Summer. There’s a trailer at the link, but no ordering information yet. Part of the profits go to the Scottish Wildcat Association, a new charity that will be launched this Spring (let us hope by that time they’ve purged the dozens of “it’s” that should be “its” on their Web site).

I’m not necessarily advocating giving them money. Somehow, when you give to an animal charity these days, some human-hating commie seems to wind up with the money. But, you know, a DVD or a t-shirt might not hurt anything.

Protect our beloved endangered psycho killers.


Can you tell which one is Felis sylvestris catus and which one is Felis sylvestris grampia?

cat or wildcat

That’s right! They’re both crazed psycho killers!


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 4, 2008, 3:19 pm

Hey, this is cool. Check it out: USA Today has a thingie that plays all the Superbowl ads one after the other. It runs line graphs at the bottom showing how people reacted to the ad in realtime by various demographics. Most interesting datum: not that much difference between the demographics (male/female, over/under 65, over/under $70K income). Most of the time, it looks like a single line.

No really fantastic ones so far (naw, I didn’t watch them yesterday. I don’t even think my TV works). Favorite so far? #19 — ferocious sleeping badger, natch. Uncle B, that’s a Namerican badger.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: February 4, 2008, 3:30 pm

Huh! Ugly bastiches my N. American relatoids, aren’t they?

Oh, and what her Ladyship said about Scottish wildcats? Understatement.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 4, 2008, 3:50 pm

Hm. Watched them all — because, let’s face it, it beats working. No real fantastic ones, were there?

The two Career Builder ads (39 and 47) were fun…in a sick way. Ditto the Cars.com ones (24 and 41). Also the Bridgstone tire ones (3 and 16). I liked the animation on the Yukon one (51), because I’m gay like that.

The Ironman trailer looks awesome! (51). And the new Narnia movie, too (35).

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: February 4, 2008, 3:53 pm

I especially liked the line, “Like wolves and coyotes with dogs, wildcats freely interbreed with domestic cats.

As if the domestic cats had any choice! C’mere, bitch! Now go make me a sammich!

…And imagine the interesting litter that would result.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 4, 2008, 4:30 pm

McGoo! How you be?

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: February 4, 2008, 4:40 pm

Thanks for asking. Under the weather. Flu. It sucks. Wrecked my trip a bit. I will not bore you. I think the worst is over.

I have much catching up to do. I skimmed your site over and note many new postings and plentiful comments. I saw a gadget-like object with digital readouts that has me intrigued. I think its a poo-controller or sumpin. I’ll catch up as soon as I get some sleep and some more food and drugs into my system.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 4, 2008, 4:43 pm

Awww, geez, McGoo. Flu does indeed suck. Sometimes I take the shot, but mostly I take my chances.

Get well.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: February 4, 2008, 5:05 pm

I usually take the flu-needle too, but it slipped by this year. This too will pass, eventually.

Saw sumpin about you living in the basement – whilst Floor People mill about upstairs, with much to’ing and fro’ing, and doing various Floor Activities.

That’s gotta suck a whole bunch in this weather. Basement camping in February. Brrrrr.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 4, 2008, 5:10 pm

Funny that. The basement used to be the warmest room in the house in Winter, on account of the heating system was so funky and leaky. I was almost looking forward to being down there. But I forgot…one of the things I had done was having the pipes all properly wrapped, and now it really is cold.

Oh, well. I’m not down there yet. First, I have to get the floor down there painted. And I have to get an old sauna unit out of my upstairs closet so the floor in there can be refinished.

That last bit happens tomorrow, so tonight — I’m cleaning out a closet! Woohoo! I just saw my High School graduation gown when I stacked the stuff on the floor, so this is shaping up to be a not-fun job.

Comment from Dawn
Time: February 4, 2008, 5:11 pm

Glad you’re back McGoo. I am snowed in with the kids and hubby. We can’t even get out of our driveway. So I will watch the Superbowl commercials and wish I had a winter house in Phoenix.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: February 4, 2008, 5:31 pm

Thanx, Dawn. I hope you-all enjoy the snow-in. Sometimes things can get cranky (cabin fever) when that happens. But with a little effort it can usually be turned into a lot of fun.

Yeah – I really missed a dumpster of a snowstorm here in StL. 8 inches. Woot. I didn’t see flake one while traveling through Arkansas and Tx, and didn’t know it snew here until I started seeing white patches along the highway coming back.

Weaz – you are a devil for work! You never stop. Except for the occasional medicinal dosage of spirits, that is. I hope it goes well for you.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: February 4, 2008, 5:36 pm

Jeez! That bottom cat looks like it would dearly love to eat my esophagus. Raw and squirting blood, that is…

Comment from Gibby Haynes
Time: February 4, 2008, 5:47 pm

You have a shot for ‘flu? What a country.
Welcome back McG.
Eh, not really a cat person. Mind you having them wanting to tear my beautiful (in an abstract way) face off would make me feel a lot less guilty about throwing them into a mulcher. Kidding! (I don’t own or have acces to a mulcher.)

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: February 4, 2008, 6:33 pm

I love your blog, Weasel. I really do. Really educates and amuses me. Sometimes at the same time. Brava.

I’m a dog person, fo’ sho’. I thought I was a cat person until we got our widdle cutie poochie shihtzu.

(Random fact: the Mandarin “shizi” (from which “shih tzu” comes; the Chinese is pronounced something like sher-dzuh) means, literally, “lion”. The dog is actually called in Chinese, “shizi gou” (“lion dog”, pronounced something like sher-dzuh gow).)

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: February 4, 2008, 6:39 pm

In Mandarin, “gou” (pronounced like gow) means “dog”.

Hanyu shi hen hao de yuwen.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: February 4, 2008, 8:09 pm

Leave it to the Chinese to exaggerate things. They probably call sewing needles “dragon slayers lifted by many men” or some such stuff.

Gibby – I love cats, but feel the same as you. The only crime a cat can commit is lack of coordination. The sentence is death, the punishment is automatic, and there is no appeal. Its like Stupidity in this regard.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: February 4, 2008, 8:22 pm

The weird part is the wildcats are just as cute and fluffy as the ordinary kind. Until they turn into a ball of death when you touch one.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: February 4, 2008, 8:32 pm

Quite correct: Duo ren taiqi de qianghai long de zhe. (Not really, though. But I can’t find “sewing needle” anywhere, so might as well.) (And I apologize for my atrocious Chinese grammar.)

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: February 4, 2008, 8:35 pm

An apt description, Christopher. It makes me cringe just to imagine touching one and have it blur into blindingly-fast razor-sharp action.

One moment your hand is there; in the next instant, its hamburger in agony – on a stick.

They sound like great joke gifts to give when they’re li’l kittens. Just give ’em to folks and wait.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: February 4, 2008, 10:20 pm

Musli – in my current flu-drug-addled delirium, a memory just surfaced:

When I worked at Bell Labs, I had all the “diversified” folks, i.e. all the non-WASPS, (i.e. foreign nationals) write on my blackboard “Go Home Yankee Pig Dog!” in their native language.

I had it in English, French, Italian, German, Dutch, Finnish, Swedish, Romanian (two kinds I think), Russian, Mandarin and Cantonese (I think), Vietnamese, Japanese, Hungarian (I think) and a bunch more.

It was great! Those with more than one language under their belt would come in, read one or more of the things, and bust out laughing, and sometimes add another. But we had a lot of arguments as to petty details about to how to properly express such a concept in some languages.

But it was funny. Naturally, my supervisor did not see the humour in it. The buttmuncher. I’m glad he got fired.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: February 4, 2008, 10:50 pm

Damn it! I missed some really good posts and comments. Crap.

There were any number of places I could have injected something pointless and/or vulgar. And Badger rassled a post! Woot!

Rats. I missed it.

Comment from Mrs. Peel
Time: February 5, 2008, 12:08 am

Speaking of moving, did I tell you guys I lost Uranus last weekend? I was dusting my bookshelf, and it fell off my solar system model and back behind the bookshelf. The bookshelf in question is 9′ high, 7′ wide, and completely full (several shelves are double-stacked). The woebegone planet fell off right in the middle, so the only way to get it back is to unload the entire bookshelf.

So, in other words, I’m not going to be able to recover Uranus until I move out.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: February 5, 2008, 1:24 am

Steamboat McGoo: when I went to the American school in Karachi, Pakistan, one of our history teachers liked to ask his Urdu-speaking students how to say stuff in Urdu. It was fun to watch. He’d go around the room and every Urdu-speaking student would give a different translation. No one could agree on one version.

Mrs. Peel: I’m sure if you asked nicely (and made sure the requisite right-thinking scientists coincidently came down with food poisoning and miss the vote), that planetary organization (with their vendetta against Pluto) can remove the planet Uranis from the solar system. Then you can feel good about not having it with the rest of your planets.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: February 5, 2008, 8:31 am

Mrs. Peel: Try a leaf-blower (electric type, of course). But be aware that a great deal of “history” may be stirred up in the process.

Musli has a good point too: who needs Uranus?

Reminds me of the movie Groove Tube. The movie motto was “Remember – You can put your trust in Uranus”, where they stress the sophomoric double-meaning of the word.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 5, 2008, 8:39 am

Groove Tube! I haven’t thought of that movie in years. I wonder if it holds up…

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: February 5, 2008, 9:10 am

I tried watching it several years ago….meh. A few skits were still good. Your mileage may vary.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: February 5, 2008, 10:26 am

I just went and voted – and probably infected the entire vote staff, the ink pen I signed with, and the entrance door handle I pushed, and the cute li’l girl that lives down the street that said “Hi. McGoo!” to me at the entryway. Rats. I felt like Contagion In Motion.

I was sooo tempted to mark the Fred! box that was on the ballot, but refrained because I figured Mitt (ew!) needs all the help he can get over McC (eeww!).

I want this battle to be between Mitt and Obama (since Mitt will win) but fear that it’ll be between McC and The Witch and either one will win (eeewww!).

Comment from Dawn
Time: February 5, 2008, 10:48 am

Speaking of….
They’re both crazed psycho killers!

I am off to vote in the primary.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: February 5, 2008, 10:55 am

I hadn’t made that connection, Dawn! Good ‘un!

Comment from Lokki
Time: February 5, 2008, 1:30 pm

Sigh – “So much to say; so little point to any of it ,”thinks Lokki.

“As usual” thinks his conscience.

Pressing on regardless:

First – here’s something I stumbled across one day about measuring the intelligence of Cats. Do Cats have Intelligence?
We all know the answer to the question, but it turns out to be quite hard to prove.

I can safely say, however, when a Scottish Wildcat eats your esophagus, raw and squirting blood, he will probably be screaming “Die Yankee Pig” in any language he chooses. I just can’t prove it.

Next – Mrs. Peel…. you won’t be the first person to have lost uranus to falling [market] conditions. My suggestion for recovering uranus would be slightly different than McGoo’s. Rather than trying to blow it out from behind the bookcase, I would suggest trying to suck it out with a vaccuum. If that fails, I would recommend getting a prosthesis. If you don’t care for the silicone models, there are some saline models that are quite convincing available now.

Finally, Weasel… I think that “Super Tuesday is a good day to move into the basement bunker for any number of reasons.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: February 5, 2008, 2:08 pm

Yeah, but what about the Duo ren taiqi de qianghai long de zhe, and the hamburger in agony on a stick? That’s what I wanna know…?

Oh! Look! Something shiny…!

Hee, hee! I forgot to do my car registration in Jan! I need to go to the tax office! And I’m sick!

Should I?

Comment from jwpaine
Time: February 5, 2008, 6:09 pm


i cn drnks yer blud?


Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: February 5, 2008, 8:00 pm

im n ur esphgus

eetn ur lyrnx

Comment from Former Lurker
Time: February 7, 2008, 8:19 am

Mrs. Peel – replace it with a hole in the ground. Many people won’t know the difference.

Comment from lizardbrain
Time: February 8, 2008, 9:21 am

McGoo, I’m just glad I had already swallowed my coffee when I saw your last comment.

Stoaty, back in my usenet-hanging-out days, there was a group called alt.possessive.its.has.no.apostrophe. I just checked, and it’s still there. That group was created for anal-retentive control freaks like me. The only thing that keeps me from compulsively correcting the almost-universal misuse of possessive “its” is the thought of the scorn that would be heaped upon my good name were I to do so. Or maybe laziness. Take your pick.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 8, 2008, 9:52 am

For some reason, I seem to see inappropriate “it’s” more often on British sites. This pleases me, since they’re all Snooty McSmartypants about their language.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: February 8, 2008, 10:11 am

Most of the time, it’s “it’s” – the contraction of “it is” that folks need to be using – yes?

Its misuse is widespread – and I do it myself out of laziness.

Comment from lizardbrain
Time: February 8, 2008, 10:19 am

The British no longer have a claim on the English language as theirs. But, much like my admiration of Leenus Torvalds, I am grateful to them for producing such an innovative, flexible product.

Language is truly open source. Anyone can change it and pass those changes along. Useful changes are accepted and integrated; changes that don’t work are discarded.

Which kind of puts the lie to my insistence on adherence to the “possessive-its” rule, doesn’t it?

Oh, and “I wuv oo!” kitty would happily eat my liver, too. The wildcat is just more honest about it.

Comment from Lemur King
Time: February 13, 2008, 2:21 am

Weasel, the kitten with the caption “I wuv oo!”… Rarely have I laughed my ass off like that. Nice mix of serious stuff, a whiff of sarcasm, and one ridiculously captioned picture of a demon from Hell disguised as a “kitten”.

Given that cat scats are probably one of the single most offensive things on the face of the planet (well, after lawyers and politicians) it’s hard to make a case for them being anything but Pure Concentrated Furry Evil. Anyway, after the active duty my liver has seen over the years, I doubt there’s many critters that wouldn’t seek a choicer cut given the option.

Thanks, I needed that laugh!

– LK

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 13, 2008, 7:06 am

Heh. “I wuv oo” kitty has a disproportionately huge wavy tail…so much so that we sometimes call him “lemur”.

Mmmm….gin-soaked livers are the BEST.

Comment from Lemur King
Time: February 13, 2008, 10:07 am

For some reason, the name Lemur always, and I mean always, strikes me as odd and worth a chuckle.

Gin-soaked livers… how the HELL did you know that?

Whups. Late for work, but have questions re: the origins of Zombie-Ron – more later. Love the pic.

– LK

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 13, 2008, 10:33 am

Yeah, “lemur” is just one of those words. Like “pants” or “munch”.

I was jiving around the bedroom this morning singing, “Ever’body dance! Weasel found her pants!” Which really was a cause for celebration on account of I didn’t bring the laundry up last night and most of my regular work pants are thus two floors down in the basement, where I totally didn’t feel like going first thing.

In conclusion: lemur.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 13, 2008, 6:28 pm

Oh, dear. I guess it’s Lemur Day on the innerwebs. Dramatic Lemur.

Pingback from S. Weasel
Time: July 29, 2008, 1:50 pm

[…] A decade ago, a man in Scotland was taken to court for shooting a protected Scottish wildcat. Remember those? And he got up on the stand and said, “looks like a cat to me.” And they let him go […]

Comment from Mazzuchelli
Time: February 16, 2011, 7:47 pm

Not surprising if the cats have been actually hanging around the Scots. Warriors all. But, what about the chickens?

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