A little over a year ago, I fulfilled a desire by traveling a ridiculous distance to pick up my new Maine Coon kitten. My heart was set on a “yellow tabby” color and I was driven by the desire to have a cat that would cuddle with me and allow me to be a hands-on pet owner. Let me explain the “hands on” part of that last sentence.
My other cat, a Turkish Van rescue from a shelter, must have suffered terribly at the hands of his previous owner, because it literally took two years before I was allowed to pet him. And forget trying to clip his nails or brush this hairy beast. It just isn’t happening. A trip to the vet is a traumatic event for both of us. This traumatic event consists of 3 parts…the trap, the catch and the delivery.
First the “trap”…This consists of cornering him in my walk-in closet and closing the door before advancing on him. Now this doesn’t sound so difficult, but let me tell you that this cat has superior, supercat ESP skills. Somehow, some way, he “knows” when this event is beginning. Perhaps he senses my anxiety or gets his cue from the appearance of the cat carrier even though it is secreted until the last moment, but when the jig is up and he confirms my intentions, he usually runs to hide in some vastly inaccessible place making it extremely difficult for me to catch him. Under the sofa is a favorite which requires a broom to coax him from beneath its dark recesses only to have him bolt to another place.
Next is the “catch”. Once Buster is cornered in the closet, it requires extreme courage for me to reach out and grab him. I am risking teeth and very sharp nails because if this cat doesn’t like to be touched, he certainly goes ballistic if I try to pick him up. Armed with a towel and oven mitts, I make the grab and stuff him quickly into the pet carrier, zipping the top as quickly as possible.
The “delivery” is next. Buster is not a small cat. Carrying him to my car is no easy feat and once there he assails me with pitiful wails all the way to the vet and back home. Back in the safe confines of our condo, he jumps from his mini prison and gives me the cold shoulder for a length of time that only his cat brain knows is considered adequate for the abuse I have inflicted on him.
Richard (the shelter’s name for him), AKA Mr. Big, AKA Big Dick (my grandchildren unanimously rejected this one which I found to be hilarious) and finally Buster (so hard finding the right name for him) has slowly grown to accept that maybe this human who feeds and shelters him and demands little else may be worthy of a little more affection. Now, 7 years later, he is glued to my side as I settle into my fetal position prior to sleeping. And there he stays the entire night. Slowly over time and moving at a snail’s pace, Buster and I have reached a mutual agreement. His close encounters with me are generally initiated by him. He actually climbs onto my chest for brief moments, allows me to pet him when he wants it and seems to have begun to accept me as a “tolerable” human.
His stand-offish temperament left me lacking the sweet connection that I craved from the many felines that have shared their lives with me over my lifetime. Which brings me back to my ridiculously long trip to bring my sweet Bernie home.
Stay tuned for Fur Babies Part 2 – my Maine Coon delight! To be continued…