Mozart was our first Maine coon cat, and he came to us courtesy of Kathy Robinson of Kennebec Cattery, which is not, as you might suppose, in Maine, but in Pittsburgh. He was born in March of 1998 and came to live with us in November of 2003, after his first situation proved less than ideal.
Kodi and Nicky had both died earlier in 2003, leaving us with Hypatia — a grey-and-white “barn cat” — and Max! — a cafe au lait masked wonder. Mozart came to us in early November, and two weeks later, we also brought Scrabble on-board direct from her temp placement at Animal House Pet Supply.
Mozart was the only Maine coon in the house, and he was Rather Shy. He and Scrabble buddied up for a while, being the new kids, but as Attrition Happened, Scrabble asserted herself, while Mozart remained somewhat reserved, though affectionate and interested in the projects of His People, assisting with the writing, and reading, of numerous books.
In mid-2005, we found ourselves running a household with only two cats. We thought we’d add a third, and we thought we’d get another Maine coon.
We brought Dulsey on-board, but she couldn’t find a place within the Mozart/Scrabble dynamic, and eventually moved on to her forever home.
In 2008, we brought Hexapuma into the team. He of course immediately fell under Scrabble’s spell, agreed that she was, indeed, The Most Qualified to Run Everything, and left her to it. He would sleep near and with Mozart, and occasionally invited him to play. Mozart seemed to ignore him, mostly, but obviously missed him terribly, as did we all, when he died.
When Socks came to us, in 2012, Mozart paid more overt attention to him, perhaps at first thinking that he might be Hex. He would occasionally cuddle up with Socks, and it might have been that they would have become big, sloppy, cat buddies, but Socks was barely with us a year before he succumbed to cancer.
Which brings us to the New Kids in Town. We adopted Trooper from Kelimcoons in New Hampshire in June, 2013, specifically as a companion to Mozart, who was clearly feeling the loss of Socks.
Predictably, I guess, Mozart ignored Trooper, who wasn’t grey, and who very much wasn’t Socks. Trooper, who had come from a house full of cats, and who had been on the show circuit, continued to make overtures, to sleep with the old guy — by now, Mozart was 15 years old — and to try to tempt him to play. We pretty quickly saw the difference between 15 and 4, and in November, 2013, we brought Trooper’s daughter, Sprite, up to Maine.
Sprite and Trooper bonded immediately; they shared a common vocabulary (do not laugh; Maine coons TALK, and while Sprite has a lot more to say about stuff than Trooper does, it’s perfectly obvious that they have conversations and consult with each other); they shared a common house culture, and an understanding about How We Cats Go On.
Maine coon females are billed as the shyer sex; however, there is a certain Mom Cat Foo that trumps. . .almost everything. Sprite immediately took Mozart in paw, cleaning his ears, snuggling next to him to nap, cleaning him up, and seeking him out to just check in several times a day. Mozart gradually came to the point where he’ll lick her cheek when they meet, and will occasionally bury his face in her fur, because apparently all that multi-colored fluff smells Really Nice.
He’s a little more conflicted regarding Trooper. I can see this. Mozart, who will be 17 on March 1, is a shadow of his former self, and even in his prime was a smaller cat then Trooper, who is tall and muscular — a working athlete. Trooper, however, puts up with the occasional swat in the face with patience, and insists that a guy needs another guy to snuggle against, and to watch things with, and occasionally to do his ears for him. And Mozart mostly accepts that.
It’s been really interesting, watching the two New Kids maneuver Mozart into their Coon Circle, insisting, gently, but consistently, that, no, we do not sleep on the blanket by ourself; we share the blanket — and the person reading under the blanket, if any. We stop and chat with each other when we meet in the hall; we eat together; we sleep on the humans at bedtime, all of us; there’s plenty of room.
So, in all, I think we did the right thing, bringing the New Kids in; and that Mozart is having as peaceful an old age as anyone can, surrounded by his grandcats.