Thursday, December 1, 2011

Oscar antics

A whole litter of kittens had been dumped on a friend. I insisted I didn't want a cat. "Just come see them." I took one look at this beautiful gray tabby with the green eyes and fell in love. He went home with us. The friend had already named him Oscar and he already answered to it so we just kept the name.

The next morning I'm watching him play and I remarked to Alan that the cat had funny looking ears, lots of hair coming out of them like a lynx. Then I noticed how long and full his tail was. Much longer than a regular cat. And then the shocker! "Good grief, Alan. Look at the size of that thing's feet. If he grows into those feet we're going to be in trouble."

The vet, a maine coon owner, guessed he was about 4 weeks old and was at least part  Maine coon. I had to go to the internet to see what in the world we had brought home.

We watched that little sweet fur ball double in size every couple of weeks for months.

They don't reach full growth until they're 4 years old. They can get very large, between 30 an 45 pounds and they develop a ruff around their neck, kinda like a male lion.

They are clowns to say the least and everything is a toy to them. If you ever laughed at what he was doing, he'd repeat the same thing over and over for about 30 minutes, just like a little kid.

Alan came home with one of those two-story cat apartments covered with carpet. Oscar loved it until he outgrew it. He would then turn it over and roll it all over the floor. Great fun.

Coons are extremely intelligent and vocal. They can actually be taught to talk but you have to invest MUCH time teaching them. Oscar had a vocabulary of 11 words.

Now I'm not talking about the cat meowing and it begins to sound like words. He said those words as plain as any 5 year old kid. If he came into the house and I wasn't in my sunroom, you could hear him coming through the house screaming "mama mama mama". If he wanted me to get up, he would stand by the bed, gently pat my face with his paw and say "Mama". It always worked. Beaming with pride, I would jump out of bed.

He would pick up words from me because I talked to him constantly. He would come running into the house, jump onto the stool next to my desk and say "hello".

Every morning I would stand in the kitchen and when the coffee was done, I would holler "Alan get up".

One night about 3 a.m., I awoke to Alan screaming "stop it" several times. Irritated, I growled "What's your problem?"

"Your damned cat keeps calling my name," he snarled. Figuring he was jealous because the cat calls me mama, I snarled back, "Yeah, you wish."

All of a sudden I hear, "Alan up, Alan up, Alan up." coming in loud and clear from the kitchen. I rolled with laughter.

The other words he used consistently were "hello", "out", "yeah", "no" and "tub".  He couldn't say the "L" in words so he would substitute a "W".

One day someone told me they had just seen Oscar up on the golf course, only about a mile from our house as the crow flies. What was he doing up there? "Chasing golf balls," she laughed. It wasn't the only time he went to play golf with the guys.

Around the holidays I began to see him in the living room playing with some type of dried grass. I couldn't figure out what it was until one day I caught him playing with a red raffia ribbon. "Oh crap," I drove down the road until I finally see "IT". A straggly looking Christmas wreath hanging on someone's front door looking like it had been put through a shredder.

Maine Coons have fur instead of hair. Water just rolls off their backs like a duck. Whenever I would water the flowers, he would run through the spray. Anytime I went to the bathroom he would go with me and say "tub". I'd put him in the bathtub and let him play in the water for a few minutes. He would do this EVERY time I went to the bathroom. I take a water pill every morning. Lots of days both of us were really soggy.
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