Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2001 2:50 AM
Subject: Snowball the Cat
READ THIS STORY AND THEN OPEN THE PICTURE FILE:
Rodger Degagne, a former employee with AECL in
Chalk River, may be embarking on a new career as Feline Breeder. Relaxing in
his spacious home on the shores of the Ottawa River, Mr. Degagne recalls how
15 years ago he befriended two stray young cats on the old AECL research
facility at Chalk River. The kittens had appeared in late summer and
apparently had gotten under a security fence around the old labs abandoned
since the late 50's. With the help of his tuna sandwich, Mr. Degagne was able
to coax the kitties close enough so that he could pick them up. A
self-described animal lover, he did not want to place the kittens in the local
Humane Society. In this largely rural area, cats of all stripes and ages
largely go unwanted and are humanely disposed of after a few days. Later that
evening his wife Louise and their two children, Nicole and Kelly, came to a
family decision to keep the kittens which they named Lost and Found. Lost was
a boy and found a girl, nature took it's course, a litter of kittens was born
6 years later. One of the litter was a big white female with a unique black
markings on her side and tail.
Something about the kitten captured the hearts of
the family and while her siblings eventually found homes elsewhere, Snowball
stayed with the Degagnes.
While Lost and Found are no longer with us, their
progeny live on. In her 9 years Snowball's size has seemed to snowball. Put
simply, Snowball is no ordinary cat, she measures 69 inches from nose to tail
and weighs in at 87 Ibs. "She started out a big kitty and she just seemed
to keep growing. She always meowed for more food and would climb up on the
counter to eat food which I forgot to cover. Chicken is her favorite.
Once I left a cooked chicken on the table that I was going to use for a boat
picnic, an hour later the chicken was gone", Louise said. "We knew
that Snowball wasn't your average cat when the neighbor's German Shepherd ran
yelping away from his first encounter with her. She just isn't afraid of any
animals. After we found a half eaten raccoon out by the garage, we decided
that maybe Snowball should be kept fenced in.
We soon discovered that while we can keep Snowball
in the yard, we couldn't keep raccoons from Snowball. At least it kept the
food bills down!" Rodger laughed. "Like all female cats she is very
territorial, but with us she is just a big ole kitten" he said.
So what does a 87 pound cat eat? Snowball goes
through a about 3 lbs. of cat food a day, along with cooked chicken,
supplemented with deer and moose that Rodger hunts in the fall. "She
likes pike a lot, so I don't throw them back any more." Snowball often
accompanies Rodger fishing on the Ottawa, eagerly peering over the side of the
boat as soon as his line goes tight.
So, to what do the Degagne's attribute Snowball's
size? Rodger says "Well, the vet thinks it could be her thyroid, but she
isn't fat, she's just a real big cat. I think maybe her parents got into
something at Chalk River that they shouldn't have."
Open file to see what Snowball looks like.
OK, the person named in the text above never worked
for AECL (Atomic Energy of Canada Limited). Furthermore the plant has not
been abandoned for 50 years. And what this hoax is supposed to prove it that
the cat got so big because it was effected by radiation from the Chalk Farm
site. Looks more like a silly sci-fi B-Movie script! Whatever next, a 300
foot Tarantula? ;-)
This picture actually shows a man from Edmonds,
Washington, known as Cordell Hauglie (not Rodger Degagne), with his cat
known as Jumper. Cordell has revealed that the photo was manipulated with
PhotoShop to create the effect of a cat of larger-than-life
size. Here's what he said:
"My daughter wanted to send an electronic photo of her cat to her
friend. I got a little carried away. When we sent it to her friend, we never
dreamed anyone would believe the photo was real."
This was how it was achieved: His son held up the cat
for one photo, and Cordell stood in the same light for the next shot. Almost
a double exposure......clever eh?