Acquired: Other (stray, given cat by friend etc.)
Posted Mar 18, 2015
My brother brought home this cat, an orange and white maine coon, who we soon found out was pregnant. I was only about 10 or 12 years old, but when the kittens were born I picked one and my mom let me keep it. We named her Dutchess.
Maine Coon Cats, though mine was mixed with some other breed, are naturally very territorial and loyal to their owners - at least mine was. She ran a few stray cats away throughout her life.
For the most part, caring for this cat was fairly easy. Dutchess was a free-roaming cat (like most cats) and typically came home when she was done exploring. She would climb up the vinyl siding by my window and meow until I let her in, then climb onto the bed and curl up above my head to sleep.
Hair was a major problem and any where I went I'd have to lint brush my clothes to get the hair off. She shed a lot and it was long, soft, fine hairs too.
I lived with this cat until just before I joined the Military and though she was not old, she was beginning to age. When she did not stay near me or eat or explore she'd lay out on the ironing table in the laundry room. There was a patch in the wall where we were fixing it and one day she hopped down and her collar got caught on a piece of wood sticking out. She died from asphyxiation. I was heartbroken.
I loved this cat very much and she kept me company. She didn't demand a lot of attention but when she needed it, I'd give it to her. She loved the top of her head, whiskers, and top of her spine (at the tail) scratched (what cat doesn't like that?).
Litter box training was fairly simple and after two or three times she got it down pact. She never had kittens and was not spayed - I would have liked to have a heir to her bloodline. This was the only cat I've ever owned and would not own another one unless they were much like her.