During the last semester I was in college, I had a class with a professor who shall remain unnamed. She made some remarks during one of her lectures regarding lesbian stereotypes and people imagining they all end up living with lots of cats when they are older.
I glanced down at the cat fur on my shirt and decided to not say a word, although I laughed about it with my wife when I got home.
I’ve had many cats in my life, but until these last few years I have never had a long-furred cat. When I got two little orange kittens from a friend they seemed like every other kitten I’d every seen – blue-eyed, roly-poly, and mischievous. They only had the baby fur that sticks out in all directions and is very short. Furthermore, their mother was a tortoiseshell calico, delicate of bone and decidedly short-haired. Their sisters took after their mother. So what happened next was a complete surprise.
Somewhere around three months, I noticed they weren’t losing their baby fluff. I mentioned this to my friend and she mentioned, only then, that the suspected babydaddy of the little orange fluffballs “might have been” a big fluffy yellow-orange cat running around her neighborhood that she thinks is a Maine Coon. Interesting!
I had heard strange tales of these cats and how big they got, but never actually seen one, or a picture. So I went to wikipedia, not really believing the whole thing – and right there on the page was a picture of a Maine Coon kitten that looked very eerily like the ones I had. And thus began our journey…
Unlike their sisters, many of the Maine Coon looks and qualities seem to have bred true for the two boys. They are not full sized as they are not purebred, but I am happy for that, as this probably also has insulated them from most of the health problems of Maine Coon cats. They have now reached their full growth. The larger boy is about 15.5 pounds and very muscular. The one pictured above weighs 12.5 pounds and at that weight is so lean I actually worry about him. The scratching post pictured next to him is an extra tall scratching post that we had to search for because they have to hunch over to use the short ones. Even the tall ones aren’t really tall enough. A delivery person came to bring something to our house the other day and actually seemed afraid of them. I feel like I should make little signs saying “not bobcats”.
In spite of their comparatively huge size, these are also some of the sweetest natured and interesting cats I’ve ever had. Maine Coons are very “vocal”, which is a way of saying they will meow and make other cat noises at you a LOT. They are good communicators. They like to “help” you do everything, and sometimes need to be discouraged. The one pictured above likes to “help” me play video games. He prefers World of Warcraft. I have actually let him play. Once I walked away for a while and when I came back he’d typed out a message to my guild and flown around the city. I swear I am not making that up. (But the message was something like “////,..,;l,l;;;;;;;;;;;;,/.,/”. So I’m not sure what he was trying to say.)
But perhaps the most fascinating incident I’ve seen with the two of them was from the last place we lived. The two cats, being brothers, are very close. And there were brown huntsman spiders in the house. If you don’t want to click that link – these are huge spiders, huge, not dangerous, but very nerve wracking because they jump out from behind things. But to the cats, they were playthings. One day, a giant huntsman began running up the wall and up to the ceiling. And I got to watch the brothers work as a hunting team to bring him down. One leapt up several feet in the air to swat the spider off the wall and the other pounced on it. That spider never had a chance, I’m telling you, Shelob was gobbled up within seconds. It was like watching a miniature nature show in my living room. They took my breath away.
My beautiful fluffy hunters.