Today is the third anniversary of my adopting Abigail from the Cat Haven. I love this cat, she is so beautiful, has a lovely personality (which does not in the least detract from her typical cat-ness – superior/pissed off/jealous/obnoxious/insolent …), and is great company. I know a parent isn’t supposed to have favourites, but she really is the best of my cats, past and present.

I had to beg my parents for my first cat; I don’t know why but they were seriously anti-pet when my brothers and I were children. Whether it was a mess issue (Mum) or a disease issue (Dad) or wanting to spare us the inevitable heartbreak that comes when pets die, we remained pet-free for many years despite the puppies, budgies and baby chicks that continued to make their way to us (budgies escaped, puppies taken to the Pound, baby chicks … actually the demise of the last baby chick coincided with the arrival of my first kitten so maybe the parents had a point). Until my first kitten, a splodgy black and white called Rocky, my only lasting pet was a long necked tortoise.

Some years into Rocky’s reign (who was the most boring old fart of a cat that ever lived) Bella arrived, an exceedingly pretty, sassy tortoiseshell baby* who turned up at our front door when I was in my mid-teens, mewed to be let in, and stayed (despite my mother’s initial objections – naturally she became a devoted, and mostly ignored, slave). She was exceedingly lovable, feisty and funny and sweet, and had a long, healthy, exciting life. She was 22 when she died.

*In fact she was an unwed, abused teenage mother; she was approximately six months old, according to the vet, was pregnant with kittens she was too malnourished and young herself to care for, and had internal injuries commensurate with being thrown from a moving vehicle.

My Abigail is an enormously fluffy silver-brown tabby and given looks, size, fur, colouration, behaviour characteristics (and veterinary and breeder acknowledgement) we’re certain she is in fact a Maine Coon. She chose me, when I went to the Cat Haven in March 2003 to adopt a cat. Having recently returned from Belfast I was desperately missing Tuxedo (who couldn’t leave his job in Belfast for another three months), my recently deceased Bella-cat, and our Belfast cat, Jessie (a feral kitten we’d adopted, tamed and found a new home for, as we were leaving Northern Ireland and couldn’t bear to put her through the six-month quarantine on arrival in Australia). I needed a cat desperately.

Going to the Cat Haven was pretty traumatic; I wanted all of them, couldn’t bear leaving them all there. It was tough, trying to pick out a kitten and looking at all the others who needed homes and maybe, wouldn’t find one in time … Fortunately for me and the owners of the place where we were living (I could otherwise have come home with 20 incontinent juvenile cats), Abi picked me. I was looking in a pen full of tabbies and torties, and one caught my attention. A big bruiser of a brown male tabby was showing his way to the front in classic “me me me me me” action … but a much smaller, younger, female kitty with a tail like an electrified feather boa kept slipping under his guard and climbing the security door. He shoved her out the way with one thwack of his enormous paw. She tried again. And again, and again. I picked her up and she instantly climbed up onto my shoulder, started trilling, kneading my boobs and sucking my hair. The volunteer was surprised by her behaviour as that particular little kitten had a reputation for being timid and shy – ha! It was all a cunning plan until she saw the right kind of sucker. That was Abigail.

She has grown into a lovely cat – huge, as I’ve said, weighing nearly 6 kilograms and no its not fat, she is just big, as in twice the size of a “normal” cat. Also incredibly fluffy and with the softest coat I’ve ever encountered (like a baby rabbit). She is a silvery-brown tabby with defined dark stripes, white feet and chest, and a creamy-apricot belly (the fur on her belly especially towards her nether regions has a soft curl to it). Her back legs have such heavy and long fur she looks as though she is wearing old-fashioned breeches; her ruff is more like a mane and almost covers her front feet when she is sitting up straight on her haunches. When she is lying down with all her paws tucked under her I never know which she looks the most like – Dougal from The Magic Roundabout (with fur sweeping to the ground on either side so no limbs are visible) or a furry cushion. If it weren’t for the big tufted ears giving her away I would have sat on her a number of times. The feather boa tail is approximately four inches in diameter, and she sweeps it about exactly like a feather boa; and when she gets pissed off at another cat – whoooaaaa. Where’d the cat go?

She has the most beautiful nature – sweet and kind, almost aggressively affectionate (see: the kneading of boobs), faithful and dog-like; she follows me around the house and curls up in the doorway of whichever room I am working in. On days when I’m in a lot of pain and am bed-ridden and generally having a tough time she will cuddle up close on the bed, and purr and nuzzle and knead, pretty much all day, she won’t leave me even if food is offered. Such a comfort. She loves water and has been known not only to sleep in the bathroom basin, but to step into the shower with me – whilst it is on.

In the last year she has become much more of a house cat – whereas for the first two years with us she preferred to be out on the tiles all night (if she could escape the 6 pm curfew) catching gargantuan rats, lizards, and feathery things, and beating up every dog and cat in the neighbourhood, she now prefers to stay indoors, excepting a two hour morning constitutional.

Happy anniversary kitty. I’m glad you chose me. By the way, you have an appointment with the Vee Ee Tee next week for your vaccinations and here’s the worming pill now –

Hey, come back.

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  • By Abigail, RIP « OTTERKAT on Saturday 2 September 2006 at 11:07 am

    […] … our beloved fluff-ball Abigail died on Monday. […]

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