What is a Wild Cattieyote?

Erin writes:
The song 'Wild Cattieyote' by The Real McKenzies refers to 'a wild cattieyote in a wheelbarrow'. What business does a wheelbarrow have with a Wild Cattieyote? Why would a Wild Cattieyote allow itself to be confined to such an undignified mode of transportation? What in fact is a Wild Cattieyote?

A Cattieyote is exactly what it sounds like, a cross between a cat and a coyote. The common or Domestic Cattieyotes are content to live in suburban or even urban environments and can make lively and affectionate house-pets, although when they want to get a belly-rub or be let through a door their howls reverberate for miles. They will eat most brands of normal catfood, but will often supplement this diet on their own initiative by killing rabbits, geese, cattle, pandas from the zoo, etc. The Wild Cattieyote is a more feral version which generally roams free in the wilderness. They can grow to the size of a small pony and have been known to attack humans, although they can easily be distracted if you roll them a large ball of string.

A Wild Cattieyote would be found in a wheelbarrow when taking part in the Great Arizona Cattieyote Wheelbarrow Race, surely one of the most stirring events on the sporting calendar. Once a year close to a hundred cowboys, ranchers and park rangers push wheelbarrows containing specially trained cattieyotes over a course that leads through half the length of the Grand Canyon and then up the steep ascending trails to the top. Far from seeing anything undignified in this, the cattieyotes, trained to this event over a period of months, seem to realise this is the pinnacle of their lives and sit in the barrows with a complete sang-froid and a superb self-possession amounting almost to hauteur - picture Queen Victoria in a pram or Charles De Gaulle being pushed in a supermarket trolley and you have something close to it. They remain perfectly immobile save when leaning into the corners or flattening their ears to cut down on wind-resistance over the straights. It is utterly inspiring to see man and beast in perfect harmony in this way; for the twist is, the men are all blindfolded and must rely on the cattieyotes' yelps, yowls, and occasional nervous mews to guide them along the trail and up the perilous switchbacks. At the end of day as the summit is conquered and the sun sets over the desert, the victorious animal is crowned with golden laurels and the entire pack are wheeled to the canyon edge and tipped over to plummet to their doom. It is a magnificent spectacle.

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