Wednesday, October 31, 2007

δ Carina: A Narrative

So the new kitty's name is now officially δ Carina. You may call her δ, Carina, or Carrie for short, but she probably won't respond to any of them. The choice of δ Carina as a name, in retrospect, was incredibly obvious. I had originally been trying to decide between Cassiopeia and Carina (and so either Cassia or Carrie for short), but for such a hyper little hairball, Cassiopeia seems a little to sophisticated. So Carina it is, but the all-too-obvious nickname/association with Carina is Eta Carina, the stupidly massive old cranky variable star in the constellation Carina. And my little bundle of skittish cord-chewing energy is neither massive nor old enough to be an η Carina, so the obvious other choice was Epsilon Carina (since in the land of mathematics ε is generally small but nonzero quantity). But as it turns out, eps Car is a binary star, and since I've got one cat and not two (though, seriously, ε Carina A and ε Carina B would be awesome names for sibling kitties), that was Right Out. So, in the spirit of taking the limit of small delta and epsilon-delta balls, δ Carina became the new name nominee; the only remaining question was: what kind of star is δ Car?

Well, as it turns out, there is no star δ Carina. The Bayer designation of stars names stars in a constellation as Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, etc. from brightest to, er, less bright; so, for instance, Alpha Centauri is the brightest star in the Centaurus constellation. So how can a consellation have no fourth brightest (i.e., Delta) star? Glad you asked. See, back in the day, Ptolemy made a list of the 48 constellations in the sky. One of the largest was Argo Navis, the Southern Ship. So there was an Alpha Argo Navis, a Beta Argo Navis, etc. But when the constellation got broken up in 1752 into Vela (the sail), Carina (the keel), and Puppis (the poop deck [hehe]), astronomers, being astronomrs and thus logical in all ways, decided to also split up the stars and keep the Greek lettering instead of, you know, re-assigning the names to the actual nth brightest stars in each new constellation. So, α and β went to Carina, but γ and δ are in Vela—leaving the name δ Carina free to be assigned to my new 9-week-old clingy attacking striped meowing fuzzball.

And so, as she attacks my hands and legs and arms and keyboard and oh my god I hope she's going to get tired out so I can get some sleep tonight, I present to you δ Carina, The First Day: A Narrative.


Oh no!! A new place! What do I do? I'm all trembling and scared.
Cords! And a ball! How do I choose??
Shoes!!!! My favorites! How did you know??
OK time to read some but how do I choose?
That was lots of hard work now it's naptime.
Whoa. I fell off that was scary. I'll hide here and let Athena the Raccoon protect me.

7 comments:

Lanya said...

Neither of my kitties I ever had as an actual kitten, so my advice may not be actually useful. That said... I have a corrugated cardboard type scratchy thing, extra wide, that my kitties absolutely adore and completely shred all the time. Another possibility is to use the softpaws nail caps until she calms down a bit. If you do try them, I will warn you that you might want another person around to help at least the first couple times you try to put them on her. Radagast really hated me putting them on.... Ooh, I know someone who's really good at helping with kitty problems. She's not online at the moment, but I will poke her sometime and see if she has any suggestions for you. How old is kitty again?

Blake Stacey said...

That bookshelf picture demands a LOL-caption. How about. . . hmmm. . . "I'm in ur Community, Reseevin ur Memoreez?"

mollishka said...

Huh, I guess The Giver is rather noticeable there.

And, yes, I realize I should get a scratching post. Just haven't had a chance to get to the place with them yet.

Carina was born on August 22, 2007.

mer said...

Did I ever show you pictures of my quite similar looking kitten?

mollishka said...

No, you didn't!! She's absolutely adorable, and yes, eerily similar looking, save for the feet.

Dieter said...

Pay attention with the windows!

You've to decide now if you want her to be used to heights (ie actually fear heights) or if you'll put nets in the windows.

Good luck!

mollishka said...

Hi Dieter,

Thanks for the advice. Where I live now actually has screens on the windows where they open, so at least where I am now, this won't be a problem ... one of her favorite (i.e., calmest when awake) places to sit is on the windowsill where she can not only play with the blinds, but also watch when people walk by.