[Note: This is the second draft of a speech for the Ladies’ Brunch for the combined Portland and Central Valley Spokesmen’s Clubs given on April 28, 2013 in Portland Oregon.]
My first encounter with a Norwegian Snow Kitty was when I was a small child in Western Pennsylvania on a walk with my parents. In my innocence and friendliness, I assumed that this was an ordinary kitty and ran up to it to pet it, having been gentle and affectionate from my earliest youth. Of course, my father was quite frightened of this particular animal and in his fear told me to get away from it. Naturally, the animal became my favorite animal for reasons that are deeply symbolic, and my own personal symbol is the picture of a Norwegian Snow Kitty on its hind legs with a single red rose held in its mouth. Today I would like to talk about the Norwegian Snow Kitty, examine why it is feared, and comment on why some odd people keep these animals as pets.
The Norwegian Snow Kitty is a small omnivorous creature that is considered to be a member of the weasel family, with short legs and a furry body and tail. It is an immensely curious animal that is very nearsighted, has no homing sense, and tends to be most active in the twilight where its poor vision and problems with dehydration and overheating are not as difficult to manage. This particular type of kitty comes in colors that range from black to brown to pink and purple and white. It is not particularly well known but this animal has been domesticated and bred for its fur, and the animals sold as pets of this species are generally rejects from fur farms and sold at about six weeks of age.
Why are people afraid of this animal? On the one side, the Norweigian Snow Kitty is an immensely loving and playful animal that loves to build a snuggly and cozy nest and likes to be held in the pocket. On the other hand, it is also a high-strung, nervous, and sensitive animal that tends to defend itself fiercely when attacked. Besides having fangs that are almost an inch long, and long claws that it uses to dig everything from dirt to air conditioner vents, it has a defense that is so potent and so infamous that it is almost the only thing most people know about this particular creature. Despite its loving nature, most people recoil in fear from the mere mention of this animal’s name.
So why do some people keep this animal as a pet? It requires a lot of work to keep this escape artist from opening up cabinets and poking around inside, as there is no route too obscure or corner too dark for this curious creature to dig around in and explore, as it really has no natural boundaries on its curiosity. That said, despite the fact that it is demanding to keep this animal safe from its own curiosity, and the visceral fear and loathing that most people have even from this animal’s real name, which has led some of its fans to call it by pseudonyms like the “Norweigian Snow Kitty,” there are some people who find this playful and affectionate animal to be so loving, and who feel so sympathetic about the wide difference between the animal’s nature and reputation that they have formed societies to support and educate others about the real character and personality of this odd animal.
So what accounts for this enigma? How can an animal that is quirky and curious and loving be so commonly feared by others for its defenses, even though it is not an aggressive animal? What is to account for the wide distance between how this animal really is and how it is seen? Does hearing about this animal’s true nature make you more sympathetic about how it is viewed, or more interested in it? Perhaps the enimga might be better understood when you realize that the Norweigian Snow Kitty is better known as the skunk.