A couple of days ago, artist Sarah Goodreau asked, “What Haunts a Cat?”
Well, I’ll tell you what haunts a cat (especially if you’re a cat in Lapland):
The Snöråttamannen (Snowratman) of Scandinavia!
As oft-reported by hikers of Kebnekaise, Sweden’s tallest peak, the Snöråttamannen is said to be a bipedal creature with a body covered in short, brown and grey hairs, a slanted, protruding snout, and a thick, ropy tail that can extend from the body a full three feet or more.
The Snöråttamannen are reported to subsist on a diet of Skittles and/or stray felines. Many have been reported coming down the mountain in search of sustenance.
One well-documented account of the creature comes from Swedish cryptozoologist, Nils Knutsson, who reports his first sighting on page 1,567 of his 1954 autobiography, “Trailing the Tail: A Life in Search of Snöråttamannen”:
The thing looked so old, and stood there so alone, my heart filled with compassion; if no one else on the mountain gave it a thought, I felt the snöråttamannen would at least do its best to live a life of quiet dignity, even though it must have suspected that its existence would be forever misconstrued by us fur-less ones. It had stood there before I was born, and would be standing there after I was dead, but perhaps, even so, it was pleased that I tried to imitate its chirp every time it passed, and sometimes, when it was sure it wasn’t observed, would blow kisses to the sun that burned in infinite flame over its head.
Contemporary reports are scant with evidence; DNA test results coming back as bear, skunk, drunken human or non-organic. Nevertheless, Lapland cat owners are well-advised to avoid de-clawing their pets and to curtail their roaming to any extent possible.