Thursday, January 14, 2021

Well, that was a surprise.

Remember this dainty little feral cat? Tumbleweed became comfortable with us so quickly it was hard to believe she was a feral. But she's not so tiny any more.

In fact, she seems to get bigger every time I see her.  Unlike our cat Hodr, who begs to come in when it's cold, she is so well insulated that she seems happy in the snow.

This is not my cat. I saw this photo online and was struck by how much it looked like Tumbleweed. I followed the link and discovered it was a Maine Coon cat. And that lead me to reading about them and it all started falling into place. Maine Coon cats, it turns out, were bred in Maine to withstand the cold winters. They have a silky overcoat and a fluffy undercoat, with a particularly dense coat on their bellies and backsides to protect them against the snow. Maine Coons also have a distinctive furry ruff around their necks, bigger tufts of hair in their ears than other cat breeds, and fat fluffy tails. It's as if they were describing my cat. Maine Coon cats are fierce hunters but super affectionate. I cringe a little at the number of chipmunk tails and deconstructed birds I have found in the shed where Tumbleweed sleeps. And yet, she is one of the friendliest cats I've met, throwing herself into any available lap and demanding belly rubs.

And then there is their personalities, which are described as "dog-like." I have often said that Tumbleweed is part dog. She runs to the gate to greet us when we drive up and will even go on hikes with us, trotting along the trail. If you call her, she runs to you instead of doing that cat-thing where they turn their heads away from you to make sure you know they are intentionally ignoring you. My younger son told me that she climbs this ladder every morning to stare into the window at him, waiting for him to come out and greet her. Maine Coons are very vocal, with yowls and chirps, and it was her calling to us from the woods that first alerted us to her presence.  

Who knew?  Looks like we've got ourselves a fierce, affectionate, talkative, dog-like fluffball of a Maine Coon cat on our hands, neck ruff and all.

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