See the cute cat to the left of this post? His name is Max, the newest addition to our family. Since his predecessor, Tiger, graced the top of this blog for several years, I thought we'd let Max become our new poster cat. (Haha, get it? "post"-er cat"....okay, well, so my humor is pretty lame.) Anyway, Max has quite the backstory. He is 2 years old, and we got him from a wonderful no-kill shelter (Pat Brody Animal Shelter) in Lunenberg, Mass., a small town almost in New Hampshire. We looked and looked for a couple months, and finally we ended up going there since several possible candidates were housed there.
Anyway, Max was billed as "Lance, a gentle giant," since he loved being petted and is a Maine Coon breed, one of the biggest breeds of cats. When we were there, he hopped over onto a tall kitty perch to be at eye level with us and although he didn't meow, he looked so pleading that we did pet him a lot which he loved. I picked him up once and discovered he was REALLY heavy (for me, anyway), about 15-16 pounds at least. All solid, too.
Then I noticed that the tip of his left ear was cut off and, wondering, asked the shelter folks what that was about. They said they weren't sure, but that Max was a formerly feral cat and that sometimes people who round up feral cats to spay/neuter them might also cut off their ear to mark them so if/when they do it again, that they don't bother picking them up again since that is a marker that they'd already picked him up once and doesn't need it again. I had never heard of these "catch, neuter, release" programs for feral cats, so I looked it up when we got home and, sure enough, there was some info out there that did indeed state that males who were caught/neutered/released had the tip of their left ear cut off or a slit in the ear or a hole punched in it. This cut-off ear gives him a bit of a rakish look. Also, he had clearly been injured or something previously, since one of his forepaws was still shaved-looking (from an IV), and his neck had a bandage around it and some of his fur shaved but growing back, still revealing an unknown wound that was still reddish.
We didn't get him that day but pondered our choices for a couple weeks and then one weekday a couple weeks later, we drove up there again to Timbuktu and brought him back to Boston with us. The shelter people gave us a carrier to put him in, and strangely, he uttered NOT A SINGLE PEEP on the way home. Then as soon as he was in the apartment, he made for under-the-bed as a safe place. He did respond each time to my wiggling my fingers to come, but for a while we rarely saw him and began to wonder if he was really the "right cat" for us, since we wanted a pretty sociable cat. Gradually, he began to come out more, and soon he was crawling all over us on the couch. For nearly a month he didn't use the tall kitty perch we had bought for him, but then one day he did and now he's up there a lot for his long daily snoozing. Sometimes he does a weird thing with his food: after he eats, he'll scrape the linoleum around the food dish, as if to bury the food, and also at first, he would grab the food and take it and move back a foot or two, like a wild animal does with its food, to eat it "away from the pack."
We like Max's uniqueness but he sure is different from Tiger who was all white tux and tails, while this one is like a shameless dumb thug with a cat gang tattoo who simply wants a safe and regular place to eat and sleep and who CRAVES petting. He may have been adopted at some point, or born into somebody's house who let him stay lost or abandoned him or whatever because he isn't afraid of us. However, when we had people over, we had been expecting to introduce Max proudly to our guests, but as soon as people started coming in, he ran for his "under-the-bed" safe place and didn't come out until they were gone. We were a bit disappointed, but maybe it just takes time.
Meanwhile, say hi to Max.