This little creature right here is why I’ve missed posting for the past couple of days. Why? Because we’ve never had a kitten in our home before, and we’ve sprinted to get it ready for our new addition.
Everyone, I present Autumn!
She’s a pure-bred Maine Coon from DreamCoon cattery down in Richmond, Virginia. No, Autumn isn’t her official name… Autumn is for us to use in our home, one of the three required names for a proper cat. Don’t believe me? Well, I’ll just refer you over to the authority himself:
“The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, or George or Bill Bailey –
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter –
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum –
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover –
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.”
― T.S. Eliot, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats
Why a new cat? Well… After Nala, we weren’t interested in another critter for a while. But… We sorely missed having a furry creature in our home; in fact, it didn’t really feel as much like home without one.
So Cindy and I discussed the issue at length.
Dog or cat (we like both, but Cindy was really wanting a dog this time around). Now or later (we have lots of work to be done to the house, which will include contractors working in it at some point). Other animals in the future (we want BOTH a cat and dog together at some point down the road). General temperament. Interaction level with people, etc. The list went on and on.
We nixed the choice of a dog pretty early, as we spend a lot of time at work and aren’t at the point where we’re ready for that level of responsibility again. So we went the feline route and finally narrowed our choice down to a specific breed of cat — the Maine Coon. You can read about them all over the Interwebs (Google is a nice place to start), but suffice to say that they are the most dog-like cat you can find, they have huge personalities to fit their even bigger frames (females can reach 20 pounds and males can exceed 30!), they chill like nobody’s business, and make for amazing companions that are tolerant of other animals in the house. In short — perfect for us.
Initially we looked for a Maine Coon rescue. Hmmm. Good luck with that. Most of the “Maine Coon” rescues aren’t; they’re mixes of some sort instead. Very few pure-bred Maine Coon cats ever make it to the rescue pages, mostly because people love them so much and don’t let them go. The Maine Coon mixes aren’t so bad, but — after a lifetime of adopting adult rescue animals with a variety of issues — we really wanted a critter without special needs, or a difficult personality, or other challenges.
So we looked at breeders, and tried to get a retired stud or queen, or a pet-quality adolescent cat. Good luck with that as well. Generally as soon as a good candidate becomes available, they get hoovered off the market so fast it makes your head spin.
Frustrated by our lack of success, we began looking at kittens. Oh boy! Every color combination you can think of, lots of different markings, ear tufts (or not), wild look (or not), etc. We eventually narrowed the field down to just a few breeders that offered the wilder look that we favored, and made our move. Elena at DreamCoon cattery had a number of kittens listed, but by the time we asked about the two that we were interested in, only one was available. Long story short, we now have Autumn!
And — so far — she’s everything that we had hoped for… super smart, very laid back, extremely companionable, gorgeous to look at and pet, fun to play with, robustly healthy (just got her checked at the vet), and a real snuggle bug.
What else does this mean? Well… I’m going to be scaling back the frequency of my posts here on my website. I’ve been sharing original content and interesting links at least once per day (or many times more) since October 2010, though I culled a lot of them out once I migrated from Blogger over to WordPress back in April of 2013. And I’m finding that I need to focus on more pressing things around the house now, like our new little furry dynamo.
Am I shutting down entirely? No, but I need a break from the pace that I set for myself, and will post more images and content as my busy schedule allows.
Good light, everyone!