We miss our Seamus, a lot. I miss his kitten kisses and his soft, almost subaudible purr. We've lost pets in the past, but this one is hitting me particularly hard. I think it's because he was so young, and it was so unexpected.
Usually, we wait a while before beginning the search for another cat. We ended up waiting almost a year to the day after we lost Pascal before bringing Seamus and Bella home.
It's different, this time. In the past, we've only had one cat at a time. We now realize that they do better in twos. Our other animals, in their own way, have also been mourning the loss of Seamus. Bella looked for him for about a week, meowing into corners and dark rooms. It reminded me of when they were kittens, and came here for the first time. They spent a good few hours calling out, no doubt looking for their mother and siblings. Maggie, our dog, moped. And when Bella coughed on a hairball, Maggie raced over, poked her, and started crying. I'd never seen her do that before.
They're doing better, now, and the critters have settled into a new routine, but I miss the kitten wars. I realize that I really, really like have multiple cats around.
And so we are getting another cat.
We decided to go back to the same couple where we got Seamus and Bella. They breed Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats exclusively. I know a lot of people have problems with breeders, when you consider how many cats are in shelters. And seriously, when most people hear about breeders, they picture the ones on the news, where they keep animals in appalling conditions and breed them until they drop. But you should see the place where these cats live. The entire house is, and I'm not exaggerating here, bigger than the Box House. There's even a second house. There are maybe sixty cats on the premises, including the kittens, spread out over three levels. And the smell? Nothing. We have one litter box, and it doesn't smell this clean. They only do a couple of litters a year.
Also, I like the philosophy of what they're doing. Maine Coons, like Norwegian Forest Cats, like Manx Cats and Siberians, are an aboriginal breed. They developed naturally, without assistance. The theory is that Maine Coonsare descended from local short-haired domestic cats and long-haired cats brought over by English seafarers and Vikings. Over the centuries, they grew into a distinct profile. They are big--up to 25 pounds, muscular, with large feet and thick fur, perfectly suited for the harsh northeast winters. This couple has undertaken the task of helping to perpetuate the species.
Maine Coons are simply the most awesome cats I've ever encountered. They're large, curious, funny, extremely smart, and friendly. In fact, even when Seamus was so sick at the vet and then the animal hospital, he still greeted everyone with nose-to-nose kisses.
We've decided to adopt someone closer to Bella's age (she's two) instead of a kitten, and went to the cattery with a few specific goals in mind. We hoped to find a male between one and two years old, and not blue. (I know Seamus and Bella are technically gray, but the color is termed "blue.") I specifically didn't want a cat that was the same color as Seamus. We knew there were several male cats available at the cattery, and there were three in particular that I wanted to meet. None of them were blue.
We ended up spending nearly two hours playing with cats on the various levels. The three we went to see were each awesome critters, but all the cats were fun. Here's Ted playing with one group. The pictures are terrible, because I didn't want to use the flash.
But despite my intentions, the one that really got to us was blue. In fact, his name is Blue. How's that for the universe laughing at me?
Blue was shy at first. He hung out on his cat tree and watched from above. I spent most of my time playing with the others, occasionally looking up at him to see what he was doing, but still not really focused on him.
The woman gave me a toy to entice him with, something that dangled from a string. It got his attention, and he came down to play. Here he is with Ted. He is a big cat. So big, in fact, that he took the toy and walked off with it, dragging me behind him. He is strong.
After that, the decision was pretty much made for us. We would scritch or play with the other boys, but then Blue'd prance by, dragging the toy with him, trying to entice us. Here he is at left:
But it was his growl that melted my heart. We played tug-o-war, and he play-growled the entire time. I never knew a cat to do that; it is exactly how Maggie plays, very dog like. It just made me laugh.
There are a few similarities to Seamus, not the least of which is his color. But he seems to have such a strong and unique personality all his own, and his face does not look at all like Seamus, so I think it will be fine. We can honor the cat we loved by adopting his brother (or rather, half brother), but grow a relationship with him for himself. So here he is, the one in-focus picture I got that whole day.
We'll be bringing him home in a few more weeks, when we can get our schedule to match theirs.