This post about our Maine Coon, The General, is for Roger at www.citrus.wordpress.com .
The General, shown in the photo above, these days weighs in at 24 pounds. He has ruled our house for the past nine years. He takes offence whenever I leave the home for any extended trips, and behaves in an irritated and nasty manner toward whoever is drafted to take care of him. This may be due to his living lost, and on the streets and back alleys of Vancouver for eleven weeks when he was 8 months old. This traumatic experience has left him with an indelible distrust of substitute caregivers. He also numbers Rumpole among this class of persons, much to Rumpole’s chagrin. I suspect The General may consider me his main human. I exist to provide him with the necessary comforts of life – security, distraction, approval, affection, food and amusement. He has trained me well. In return, he bestows careful doses of attention toward me, and allows me to feed him on time, gives me the benefit of his editorial capabilities whenever I am on the computer, shares the morning ritual of newspaper reading by sprawling on the open folio, and sleeps with his head on my shoulder at night.
The General is what our veterinarian has labelled a Tan Tabby Maine Coon cat. He did not come to us with any proven pedigree; he had been found wandering around in the bush on Gabriola Island as a two month old kitten. When he arrived at our house he was a very large three-month old. He made himself at home in an instant, it seemed, adopted our Shepherd as a playmate and me as Mom/Slave. On a first check-up at the vet, he lounged on the examining table as if he owned the joint, and lay in the arms of the charmed vet in a limp and relaxed fashion. Even then, he permitted himself to be lifted in the most awkward positions; upside down, wrapped aroud the neck like a collar, grabbed by the four legs and stretched out full length and carried about with his hind legs dangling down. His favourite youthful game was to make cannon-ball jumps over the dog’s back – he sprinted the length of the kitchen and dining room, hurled himself in the air, formed into a tight ball while aloft, sailed over the dog’s back, unfolded and landed.
He has matured into a monster of a cat, in terms of size and hairiness but not by temperament. He looks imposing while lying down, but it is when he strolls across the room in a dignified and deliberate pace that he makes an impact. Visitors always vie to have him come and sit beside them; sometimes he obliges. He recognizes cat-aficionados and bestows his presence on them; he steers a wide path around dog-lovers – they are not to be trusted.
Lately, he is showing jealousy whenever Mousey comes over to visit us, especially since she tends to take most of my attention. He demonstrates his displeasure by visiting all the potted plants in the living room and leaving tooth marks in selected leaves, meanwhile watching overs his shoulder to see if I notice. I guess punishment has to fit the crime, in his feline rationalization! The plants are starting to appear a bit peaky these days, so I must embark on a campaign of gentle behaviour modification to dissuade The General from this negative habit.
We do love the old fellow’s temperament, his quirky personality and tendency to “talk” with us. Rumpole is determined that if we ever have another cat live with us it will be a Maine Coon. I am in complete agreement with Rumpole, in this instance!