by Peter Ireland
(Panama City Beach, FL)
Max, AKA “Fuzz Butt Yodel Lungs” is all Maine Coon, the good, the bad, the “you gotta be kidding…”.
Max is larger than life; he is a topic of conversation with all of my team at my company, where there is a fascination bordering on Schadenfreude with his antics.
As Max’s chosen primary care giver, it befalls on me to provide food that will tempt his discerning palate.
His prodigious girth and span from tip to the end of his bottlebrush tail is maintained in all its glory by magic, certainly not cat food.
He survives by means unknown to those that feed him, other than his occasional interest in chicken, ham and Temptations. He is more dog like than cat in all of his demeanor, other than his appetite.
Max is people centric, he loves being the center of attention, and in fact communicates rather well, when hijacking my computer keyboard and firing off missives that are apparently encoded by high order coding known only to Max.
Night moves are most enjoyable. From midnight to around 4, Max alternates singing with his alternate game of making the hired help act as doorman.
It's amusing the first night, watching him make like a yo-yo around the doorway, whichever side he is on being imperative to be vacated.
Max is all Maine. His antics while fatigue inducing are still fun to be part of, less so if you have an early start planned.
He makes up for his nocturnal crooning with near narcolepsy in the daytime.
His sleeping habits include draping over any edge of a surface, or being found in repose on his back, with his legs splayed out laterally, reminiscent of images of Garfield impacted against a window.
This is a great position to have access to his belly for brushing, which is tolerated for a short period before the fangs get some workout.
We became Max’s hired help by curious circumstances, which did hint that he would be a fun cat to spend time with.
He had exasperated a number of prior contenders with his singing or due to problems with other cats in the last foster home he was with.
Having been declawed at some point, he has some issues with self-defense, which we take, steps to mitigate.
His discomfort with other cats led to my hospitalization early on after I came between Max and a perfidious and less than inscrutable Siamese.
End result was 4 deep punctures in my wrist, that in spite of immediate medical attention and doses of antibiotics, ended up with a 5 day visit to ICU with systemic poisoning and large IV doses of antibiotics.
I did have to clarify my request to one of my team that when I say please look after the cat, I do want the cat to be alive on my return to health.
Over time this team member has become fond of Max, who remains oblivious to how close he may have come to having hunting season declared open.
This cat exhibits the ability to hide, and his surprising dexterity is often exhibited.
He hides in drawers by levering them open, hopping inside, and then closing the drawer while within.
The first time seeing that was at the end of a long search to find the cat, where he showed his position by opening and closing the drawer he was in for our entertainment. To do this, he lies on his back, and walks the drawer in and out with his feet.
Max is a quirky cat. He is 100% cat, and 90% dog. He is visibly happy to see me on my return from a flight, his enthusiasm conflicting with the air of aloofness that all cats are endowed with.
The enthusiasm wins out however, and he will end up draping himself across my chest or head, wherever he can gain a foothold.
After a suitable period of affection, he will revert to aloofness and disdain, and demands follow.
His eating habits are the bane of my existence, for a dog he is very picky. He still weighs in at around 26 lbs, having lost some of his girth over the last few years.
I contend he is big boned… his shape is however not described as athletic, more like being cobby, with his long coat adding to the illusion of being wider than he is long.
That shape disappears when he stretches out, at which point his head to tail measurement becomes rather impressive.
Max’s tail is often used as a locator device, it can be the only part of him that is observed when he walks around the house outdoors, towering over his body and coming into view as the top of a question mark, “?”.
Max doesn’t travel well; a visit to the vet is a sing-a-long from the beginning, with continuous exploration of the car interior, my head and lap.
I stopped taking him in a ragtop jaguar as he found amusement in lowering and raising the roof on whim. A little Porsche was also removed form his chariot of choice as he can open windows on command, and that leads to having a tight leash at all times.
I have resorted to using my Bentley to take him to the vet, there is no part of the car that he can manage to function at this time.
On arrival at the vets, he is well behaved but normally the cause of alarm in other cats and dogs.
He has become rather well known at the local clinic, with a parade of staff joining in to pamper him with affection. Apart from the disruption to routine, he is well behaved.
I have had him in some of my jets, where he will take up station on my lap, and help fly, but he has been banned from flying in any of my helicopters, his assistance is less than helpful.
Max is more than a cat, he is a friend, not always easy going or not demanding, but he is an interactive creature who has a never ending repertoire of ways to add surprises into my life.
Heath wise he is very well, but I worry about the potential for dysplasia in such a sized cat.
His nocturnal patterns and eating habits add needless stress, but otherwise he is 26 lbs of entertainment and joy.
There are easier cats and dogs out there, but not too many other types are more enjoyable than the Maine Coon in full bloom.
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