by: Jack VanNatta in Gales Ferry, CT
Cymba is a rescue cat, from a High School project, adopted by my wife as a furry healing pet (I had a quad heart operation in May 2011, he arrived June 2011, 2 months old).
Researching Maine Coons, he definitely has most all the traits of a Maine Coon, though I am sure only a Mixed Coon. He weighed 15 pounds at a year old, and long is not the right word for it.
He has maintained that weight into his 3rd year now. He started immediately as a kitten retrieving rolled up paper balls, rubber bands, loves bag ties and string. The stuff he retrieves he brings back and drops them at my feet awaiting for a treat.
If I don't pay attention, he will meow or gurgle/growl, till I look down from my computer desk to see that, after he batted it around for awhile, he finally brought it back, laying somewhere around my chair.
After a year, he started putting the rolled up balls or rubber bands into his food bowl that needed filling, sometimes as many as 5 rolled up balls and maybe a rubber band or two could be found waiting for my attention.
By his 2nd year he would guide me to his feeding area, lean over and rub the side of his face against the bowl that needed attention, ie, the water bowl, as the wet and dry food bowls would have the rolled up paper balls awaiting my attention.
In the last 6 months or so, I started buying pills off Amazon to help with his hairball digestion, one per day, broken up into the dry bowl. Now he will add the paper ball to that bowl, even if full, if I forget to put the broken pill in it.
He is strictly an indoor cat, except when he escapes, and mostly only a downstairs cat as my wife is allergic to all animals, but guess loved me enough to try another cat (we've had 3 others, all eventually given to my daughter, thank goodness, the longest was for 5 years till my wife ended up in the hospital), so Cymba stays mostly downstairs in a raised ranch with a slatted door separating him from the upstairs, (he does come up at least twice a day at feedings montoring the washing of his food bowls, etc.).
I am a night person, retired, etc., so spend a lot of time with Cymba, as my computer is also downstairs. When I am upstairs, he immediately heads to my computer chair and plops down for his naps.
If he is tired or not getting the attention he wants (I do have to do some work on the computer), he will curl up in a box with some stuffed animals that he loves to fight with, one is his lion, the others baby rabbits, takes his aggressions out on them, but doesn't break them (they're his buddies I guess), better them than my hand I guess.
I get up at usually 11 am or so (in bed at about 4am), and if my wife is home she says as soon as my alarm goes off and my feet hit the floor, he starts meowing at the slated door, standing on his hind legs so he can reach the slats, and she swears the meow says "Hello" and will keep it up, not an aggravating Meow, just a Hello till I go downstairs to greet him at the door where he leads me past his litter box, stopping by it, leans that way, looks back at me, gives me a gurgling sound, reminding me that it needs emptying, then heads to the food bowls and reminds me which needs to be filled.
Did I say this is one intelligent cat and has been since a kitten? We then head over to the window, open it, put his grass pot in it, he lays across it, letting me stroke or brush his long body till had enough and leads me over to his food bowl so we can go upstairs for feeding time.
Did I mention he plays "hide and seek"? As a kitten would always hide under a table next to the computer, that has a skirt (tablecloth) over it that goes to the floor, would go under that and I would ask "Where's Cymba? and on cue would hear a soft gurgling sound from under the table so we would repeat that scenario for a few minutes, as I would see his little tail protruding from under the tablecloth, now he can't fit under it, but has about 10 different places he now goes to and hides till I actually find him, sometimes 30 minutes will pass and not a sound from him, till I actually find him. He also loves to hide around a corner and jump out to swat at my leg or scare me.
He's not much of a "lap cat", can hardly ever grab him as he constantly runs from me wanting to play chase, guess I spoiled the lap stuff since a kitten as always was chasing him around downstairs, scaring him, etc. (replaced my grandkids I think), so now when I reach for him, he basically stays a few arm lengths away till "he's ready to be picked up".
He does jump up on my computer desk as I try to work and just lays over my work, basically I know he either needs his food bowl filled or wants to play, not necessarily just for petting. My wife and I both think his father was a "dog", really has alot of traits of a dog, waiting for me at bottom of stairs to play, looking out the window for me to come in, sitting or laying at my feet by the computer till I'm finished.
Also, recently we have started to keep the basement door open to the upper house to let him roam a little more and now, when I go into our master bathroom, I shut the bedroom door so I can play my favorite music on the thrown to not disturb my wife, and he comes upstairs, down the hall way and sits at the bedroom door meowing for me, then finally just lays down in front of the door awaiting the opening and my presence.
Plus last week I took a week’s vacation with my grandchildren to Texas, leaving my wife alone with Cymba.
She said he would come upstairs, meow a few times, take a tour of the house searching, then back downstairs confused. He still did all the same rituals with her in the food bowels, etc. The kicker was when I returned he followed me constantly.
Then a day later I went to a local high school wrestling match and left the downstairs door open so he could drift upstairs to visit my wife.
She said as soon as he saw from his window downstairs that my car had left, he bolted to the front door and meowed in shrieks like he was in pain. He then dug his claws into the carpet at the edge of the door bottom and dug and dug it till it lifted up, all the while meowing.
When I got home I basically tripped opening the door, and he greeted me with his normal tail held high at the bottom of the stairs. I swear his dad was a dog, such obedience and devotion. They say cats are independent, Cymba is so dependent on me that it is eerie. Definitely a MIXED MAINE COON!!
His favorite toy, other than rolled up paper balls, rubber bands and bag ties, is a homemade wand with a string attached, then a paper clip (wrapped so no sharp edges), then a bag tie at the end.
He will jump, do flips, whatever and great excercise when I fling it on the sofa, then on the floor, back to the sofa, back to the floor and he jumps, up then down, up then down till he catches it, which I will give him a reward treat.
He will also pull the string on the wand in his mouth and carry it to the sofa or floor by the sofa indicating he wants to play, or if it's on the desk, will rub his face on the wand making sure I'm looking indicating that is the one he wants to play with. Of course chasing the old lazer light is another favorite and will jump or run almost to the top of the garage basement door to catch it.