cats

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The Maine Coon Cat

Fact and Fiction
Why are they called Maine Coons?
The cat is a native of the state of Maine in North America. Popular myth suggests that the Maine Coon descended from six pet cats that were sent to Maine by Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution.
Legend also has it that the Maine Coon was originally a cross between a cat and a racoon, hence the large bushy tail.
So there you go - a pretty mythical cat all round, which could explain its strange abilities (like how do they open that locked pantry door at night?).
Maine Coons can grow quite large, and have the loko of a real "Cat's cat" - according to the GCCF Standard of Points they:

"evolved as a working, domesticated cat in a rural environment; this role is reflected in a muscular cat of rugged outdoor appearance with a characteristic weatherproof coatand the demeanor of an alert capable hunter".

Maine Coons become very attached to their human family, but are not usually lap cats (luckily - a 15lb plus cat can cause severs circulatory damage to the lower limbs). They will follow you round the house, just to keep an eye on what's going on (don't want to miss a food opportunity), and usually settle by your feet (then when you stand up and trip over them , they can expect a cat treat by way of an apology).

Never leave any food unattended with a Maine Coon in the house - the remians of last night's curry will be mysteriously gone in the morning, the only clue to its whereabouts being the line of cats queueing for the litter tray.

Maine Coons have a dark secret - many years ago a short-sighted Maine had a dalliance with a d*g. It was hastily covered up, but traces remain in modern day cats. If you throw a rolled up ball of paper for a Maine, the urge to chase and retrieve is irresistable. They will spend many happy hours retrieving objects, but when a camera appears, or visitors arrive, they immediately stop and fall asleep, thus showing you to be a liar.

Despite their size, Maines have a soft voice, chirruping rather than meowing. They can be quite talkative, especially when they want something (usually food).

pharmcat's Cats, past and present

Benson
aka Adinnlo Honesty. Born 3rd August 1993, died 11th April 1998.
Male neuter silver tabby Maine Coon. Lord of all he surveyed, kept the others in their place with a swipe of a size 12 paw. Needed petting and adoration from all humans, or the size 12 paw would slap you round the face as a reminder (never with the claws out, but a size 12 paw packs quite a punch). Was intolerable after appearing on the front page of the local newspaper. Sadly Benson passed away due to a suspected liver infection.
Picture of Benson

Eddie
aka Adouzlo Solomons Seal aka Edmund Blackadder, born 18th April 1994. Male neuter black/black smoke Maine Coon (can't decide what colour he is, so changes according to his mood). Shaped like a barrel, and will eat anything, no matter how disgusting (is on a permanent diet to stop him getting stuck in doorframes). Has a voice like a foghorn, and is not the brightest of cats. In fact, I think it is safe to say he is the thickest cat I have ever met in my entire life. But he is also the most loving and lovable, and I have yet to find a person who has not fallen in love with him the moment they met him. Loves water, and sleeps in the sink. Loves getting in the bath with you, especially if there are lots of soapy bubbles to play with (and yes, I do mean gets IN the bath!). Will also try to get into the toilet, so house rules are that no-one leaves the toilet seat up.
In early 2000, he escaped from the garden and tried to beat up a moving car. Unsuccessfully. The car was undamaged, unfortunately Eddie was not. He enjoyed all the attention during a week's stay at the vets, unlike the staff - the change of diet did unfortunate things to his bowels necessitating fumigation of the surgery. However he returned home complete with impressive metalwork on one leg. We had to keep him caged for a while, the fact that one leg was now three times heavier than normal and twice as wide didn't quite permeate through his impressively small brain and he kept trying to jump in the sink, and failing. Following a couple of month's treatment and surgery from our wonderful vet, he is now back to his normal self, however we have to keep a close eye on him as he is determined to escape and have a rematch with the car. Well I did say he wasn't very bright.

Pagan
aka Adqualo Pagan. Female neuter silver shaded Maine Coon. Total lap fungus. Loves sleeping in bed with humans, but only until 2am when she wakes up and decides it's playtime. Loves burying toy mice under the bedclothes, especially ones that have been drowned in the waterdish first. Despite being the smallest, most delicate Maine Coon I've ever seen (even the vet was worried the first time he saw her), she beats up the other cats and takes no messing from them. Has developed the ability to vanish into thin air whenever visitors come round, we still haven;t found out where she goes. You know you're a friend of the household when you've seen Pagan - once you;ve visited the house at least 10 times she will emerge from thin air so you can admire her stunning beauty. As long as you don't try anything too familiar like picking her up, which will cause her to instantly vanish again, a bit like the Chesire Cat but without the grin.

Lisa
Black and white female neuter moggie. Born.29th August 1993. Sister to Bart, who died at a young age. Came from a farm in Wales, and was originally going to another home until the resident dog decided he really didn't like her. Has a love/hate relationship with the others - likes the protection the others can give (she is the oldest cat in the house now), but doesn't actually like them. When younger, she used to chase squirrels up trees and get stuck. Now she prefers to sit by the fire, but will insist on having the front door opened for her at least 5 times a day, just so that she can look outside and decide it's too cold to go out. Does like sitting in the sun in the summer, which could have been the end of her - she kept burning her ears, despite trying to keep her in (she got very cross and miserable) and putting suncream on her ears (she licked it off within 5 minutes), and developed skin cancer. So she has had both her ears amputated, which means she looks a little odd (well, to visitors she does, we don't notice any more), but it has caused her no problems at all and means she can go and lie in the sun in the summer which has cheered her up no end.

Dana
Tortie and white female neuter moggie. Born 15th April 1995, died 2006. The original scaredy-cat, she stayed in 3 rooms of the house and refused to go outside. Had eating competitions with Eddie - who can eat the most in the shortest possible time (Eddie usually won).
Unfortunately Dana developed a form of cancer, which caused her to retain large amount of fluid. The vet guessed she only had a month or two left, but she suprised us all and lasted another 6 months from diagnosis. By the end, the diuretics were not enough to keep the fluid at bay, and we had to take the decision to have her put to sleep. Despite the fact that she was not a cat you could pick up or hold, she was always around us and loved to be stroked (she had the most peculiar silent meow when trying to get your attention for a stroke).
Dana in her slimmer days

Dave
The famous Dave, born May 2004. Where to start with Dave? Dave was one of life's originals. He had no fear of anyone or anything, and could make us do anything he wanted to. Had a fascination with heights, and would invariably pick the highest point in the house to sleep (on top of wardrobes, in lampshades, on people's heads). Regularly slept on Mr pharmcat's head. Dave's eating put even Eddie to shame, but he had the advantage of being slim with 3 foot long legs, very much resembling a cat on stilts. Completely destroyed the house, left us with no furniture, no wallpaper, no clothes (or at least none without holes). In fact, we can still see his "growth chart" - with human children you draw a line on the wall or doorframe where the top of their head reaches, and you can see how tall they have grown over time. With Dave, we can look at the height of the clawmarks up the bannisters - when he was a kitten he could only get a foot up the bannisters before falling off, by the time we lost him he was nearly to the top.
Dave took one risk too many, and was hit and killed by a car outside our house in 2006. After Dave's death, neither of us can face getting another cat. They say time heals, but maybe this time it will take forever.
Dave as a kitten (on the right)
Dave in one of his favourite places

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