For as long as I can remember there has always been at least one cat and dog in my life. Since my mother was an animal lover it was not uncommon to see a wide assortment of pets in our home. Cats and dogs were basic, but rabbits, birds, fish and chameleons were included in the animal roster, too. Neighbors would bring wounded wildlife or strays to my mother for care. I guess it was inevitable that I would always want pets once I was living outside the sanctuary.
When Ron and I married almost thirty-eight years ago I came into the union with Too-Sweet, a Standard Poodle and Old English Sheepdog mix, Ashley, an orange and white cat I won in college, and Leon, actually one of my mother’s cats. She found Leon wandering on the street and brought him home to live with Ashley, who at the time was in my mother’s care while I lived in a no-pet apartment my senior year. I guess my graduation present was getting both of the cats when my parents moved to Florida. Leon had issues, but Ashley was fairly well adjusted.
Too-Sweet was the best dog I could have ever gotten. She lived with me after my graduation from college. A large, loyal and loving dog, she accompanied me , Ashley and Leon to Rhode Island for my year in graduate school. Luckily Ron liked both dogs and cats and thus began the saga of our many four legged associates. Each has its own story, but for the sake of brevity I will just list them. Dogs Shortcake, Ferris and Bella followed. Cats Mona, Mario, Venus, Berio, Demi, Fiona, Xena, Frederick and Nebbiolo also joined our clan. At the cat census in 2008 we had seven felines using our address as home. Since then three of our lovely ladies (Fiona, Xena and Venus) left this world and now four cats and one dog remain. This post will focus on Frederick. Fred spent his early days as a foster kitty at Pam and Ray’s Feline Finishing School (at left.) From the moment I saw him there was an instant connection (not unlike Pam’s) and I knew he would come to live with us.
Fred is a Maine Coon. He is large, chirpy and long-haired, and also boasts a sweet disposition. Frederick out weighs our other cats and seems even bigger than he is due to his long and fluffy fur. Occasionally Fred exerts his dominance (although I believe Nebbiolo is really the alpha cat) and leaves his many napping perches to chase one of his buddies or his tail. Cats with long hair are certainly show stoppers, but they do require extra care and patience from both the human and feline sides. Fred also has a nasty habit of rolling and resting in the kitty litter. I thought this was a kitten activity, but have recently found his scent all too reminiscent of Fresh Step, the litter of choice. Luckily he prefers new litter for his sand blast. All things considered, Frederick is the almost perfect cat. He is big, beautiful and a little bit goofy. Hopefully he won’t be too upset with my cartoon version of his beauty.