Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
CP 76000, Mexico
Posted Mar 25, 2015
Of the five cats that I have lived with as an adult, four have been Domestic Shorthairs, including the three wonderful girl cats I currently live with in Mexico - Frida, Remedios, and Lucia. The one time I owned a purebred cat was inadvertent. Claire was an adult adoptee who had been through some difficult times. She was a strikingly beautiful cat, with a silky gray coat, four white paws, and blue eyes. She was very shy at first - she had been fostered in a home with big dogs and loud parrots, which freaked her out - and it took a good deal of patient affection to "bring her around," but once she adjusted to her new life, she was as loyal and loving a cat as you could wish for,
The vet told me that Claire was almost certainly a purebred Birman; she conformed to the breed type perfectly. Birmans are usually ultra-sociable with visitors, which because of her earlier history was a trait that Claire didn't share. But in another respect she was the typical Birman: the breed is often described as "dog-like," and in fact she was, following me from room to room wherever I went.
I have never understood people who describe cats as aloof. Of course some individual cats are, and perhaps some breeds tend towards it. But in general, I think that cats will be as attentive and affectionate to YOU as you are to THEM. Certainly all five of my cats have been as emotionally close to me as any dog. All of them have had the habit of sleeping with me, and have seemed to derive great pleasure and emotional security from doing so.
Although Claire never did take to other humans, after a few years I added a few other animals to the mix - small, non-threatening ones - and she was very mellow about that. At one point there were Claire, Benjamin Bunny, Wordsworth the cockatiel, and Tugger the hedgehog, and there were no problems at all. Wordsworth would fly around the apartment (under my supervision, of course), and Claire wouldn't so much as bat an eye. He could fly right up to her without getting much of a reaction.
Claire had a few health issues, mostly digestive and urinary, but I think that was just her, I don't think it's necessarily usual with Birmans. There was a period when she was tending to dehydration, so the vet taught me how to re-hydrate her by administering fluid subcutaneously. Claire was very patient about it, and once I got used to the procedure, it really wasn't bad at all.
(An aside that I think applies to all pets: Except under unusual circumstances, you should learn to handle nail-clipping, basic grooming, and medicine-giving yourself. It is usually not that hard. Your animal trusts YOU and will not suffer much stress if you can perform these tasks in a loving, reassuring way.)
My Domestic Shorthair cats have been exceptionally hardy and have seldom required veterinary care. All my cats are indoor cats, and all of them have seemed perfectly content with that. I simply wouldn't expose my cats to the dangers of outdoor life.
It is no wonder to me that cats are the most popular pet in the world. I like having more than one species in my life at a time, but for a long time now cats have been the basis of my animal household.