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eRumorSnowball-the 87 pound cat from Chalk
of the eRumor: This
eRumor is accompanied by a picture of a man holding an enormous
cat. The story says it belongs to Rodger Degagne, a former
worker at a nuclear research facility near Ottawa Canada. He
found two cats years earlier that had been hanging around some old
research labs, brought them home, and among their offspring was a
white cat the family fell in love with and named Snowball.
Snowball snowballed as he grew older and ended up being a pet that
weighs nearly 90 pounds.
Truth: Nobody has
revealed where the elaborate Chalk River story originated, but
the picture of the alleged 87 pound cat is a hoax.
TruthOrFiction.com has been in contact with Cordell Hauglie, who is the person who created the picture using Adobe
Photoshop. He says it's actually a picture of his pet cat
named Jumper and that he created it as something amusing to
send to his daughter. That was a couple of years ago. At first,
the picture alone started circulating on the Internet. Somewhere along the way,
it picked up the
"Snowball" tale, but Hauglie has no idea where. Ever since the
eRumor started circulating on the
Internet, the folks in the Chalk River area have been getting
questions about the cat, but, of course, none of the locals has ever had
first-hand knowledge of it. The AECL (Atomic Energy of
Canada, Limited) facility says no one by the name of Rodger Degagne
ever worked there and that their labs are still operating, not
merely remnants from the 50's. There is a gentleman in the
area with a similar name, Roger DeGagne, but he says he knows
nothing of the Snowball story.
There are problems with the picture that made many people (including TruthOrFiction.com) believe
it was a fake. We, and others, thought the cat did not look
like it was being held, but Hauglie says 20-pound Jumper was being
held in the original picture by his son Jason. It's actually
Jason's hand that is seen under the cat and, knowing that, it's
obvious that the hand was enlarged with the rest of the picture of the
cat and looks out of proportion. Hauglie says one of the
theories floating around about the picture is that he is a midget
holding a normal-sized cat in a small house, which is not the case.
Another problem was that
if the man in the picture were really holding a cat that weighs
nearly 90 pounds, he would not be doing it with such little apparent
real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:
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 Human 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 turned out to be
female and Found a male. When nature finally 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 Degagne's. 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 87Ibs. 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
So what do the Degagne's attribute Snowball's size to?
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".
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