I think we have more fans of The Manor Cats than we do of any human inhabitants, which is as it should be.
Dobby remains the perennial favorite. He was born here, after all, as the very confused runt of Marmy Fluffy Butt's first and only litter. He is imbued with a generous spirit and serves on the Marlinspike Hall Hostage Negotiation and Intervention Team. He has few vices -- the main one being a propensity to demand over-brushing; He lives to be groomed. Dobby is our secret weapon in the training of the more difficult felines: a model of decorum for his Mother, the original Wild Thing, and a living "how-to" guide for Buddy the Freakishly Large Kitten, who has been with us since March.
We were pretty much insane the day we got nine-week-old Buddy from the shelter. Uncle Kitty Big Balls, Marmy's brother and Dobby's uncle, had suddenly taken ill and died the previous weekend. Fred and I had invested a lot of time, money, and loving energy, first rescuing UKBB from the street, then having his hard-used body patched up. We were glad, ultimately, to have been able to provide him with a year of comfort. Still, it was hard to believe he had fought back from such a difficult life only to die just when he was discovering fun. I was beginning the subanesthetic ketamine treatments for CRPS, and Fred was exhausted by all of it.
We're well versed in when not to go kitten/cat-hunting but we did it anyway -- things were just too freaking hard and diversion was needed. Like taking care of Marlinspike Hall, the moat, the outbuildings, the errant Cistercians, the livestock (miniature, normal, and oversized), the orchards, the labyrinth -- Like all of that wasn't enough to distract us! No, we needed a kitten.
Distract us, he did. I managed four months of treatment, without success, and went broke in the process. We'd each break down, tour à tour, but after, at most, a minute of weeping, giggles of "oh, you numbnut, you" would take over, as Buddy decided to attack a toe or a tassel, jump in a bag or a box, leap on Marmy Fluffy Butt's fluffy butt or sit on Dobby's head.
Buddy the Kitten has turned into a Maine Coon, that ultimate in Americana. We grew suspicious when his growth came less in spurts and more in onslaughts, and when his tail assumed a separate identity that even his head could not understand. He is, it seems, having a war between his front end and his rear, with that tail flitting about to truly confuse things. One end has been known to attack the other, while Buddy the Kitten rolls his eyes wildly about.
He thinks himself tiny which is ridiculously cute but frequently irritating. I am thinking of my bedside table, mostly. Not entirely in control of his body, when Buddy decides to take a leisurely stroll along the invisible roundabout on my bedside table, most everything ends up on the floor or between his jaws.
He deconstructed the blinds that were custom-cut for our windows so that he can slip behind the headboard and ogle the birds, and when he outgrew the opening he'd made, he renovated. I made lots of noise about making repairs but have not a clue how to prevent him from tunneling back in...
Anyway, the Maine Coon, for you non-cat people, doesn't follow the rules of kittenhood. Instead of maturing in the first year of life, they continue to grow well into their third year and can keep going until age five. He will end up being between 15 and 25 pounds.
His racoon tail has already encountered my wheelchair wheels on three occasions, and they were not happy moments. It's not going to get better as he seems comfortable challenging the chair. He doesn't yet make the connection that I am driving the thing, else he would be afraid, very afraid.
This week, he has been contemplating his poop production. He does not play with it, eat it, sniff it, or do anything disgusting at all. He just sits outside one of the three litter boxes, with his head poked through the front opening, and... contemplates. This activity appears to be very soulful and satisfying. He will maintain his meditative state for up to twenty minutes at a time. I only hope his next project is as quiet and non-destructive.
Marmy remains all about Marmy. She wants what she wants, when she wants it. We hang together, me and Marmy.
In case you've forgotten what Buddy looked like a few months ago, here is a photo of that engaging and innocent young thing. The tail, even then, should have been a clue. We were clearly in denial.