The Maine Coon is commonly described as a “Gentle Giant”. His placid and unperturbed demeanour has endeared many to this feline breed but methinks the two specimens who are currently residing at the House of Chaos must be the exceptions that prove the rule. Now, don’t be alarmed, our two newcomers are not aggressive or mean -at least not now that they have overcome their initial hostility towards strangers and have become acquainted to the other Feline and Simian Denizens of this House. But they ar far from calm and certainly seldom unperturbed. They exhibit a behaviour that seems foolish, mad, even stupid at times. They are, as Grumpy Man fondly describes them: “schrikkepuiten”. That’s literally: “scared frogs”. They’re scared of anything anytime anywhere. Anyhow.
You might observe a typical scene at the House of Chaos: in the living room various Feline Residents are strewn about immersed in gentle repose. The feral “Bliksem” ( = Lightning) can be found sleeping belly-up in his little hammock which he knows is the one single spot in the House where the Simians won’t ever approach him, the elder Loup-Garou (= Werewolf) is curled up softly snoring on his cushion on the windowsill, our gracious girl Freya has given in to a bout of napping on the cupboard… and the two long-haired punksters are lounging on the two sofas (the other 4 Felines are out somewhere, undoubtedly wreaking havoc amongst the feathered and furry neighbourhood). The scene appears to be of bliss and utter peace. But then a key turns in the front-door, or the mailman knocks, or a loud vehicle revs up in the street and WHAM! the two big babies freak out and vanish as one, through the hallway and up the stairs. Leaving the 3 others awake and puzzled. What brought that about ?
Beauregard has in the past weeks gathered his courage and girdled his loins and ventured out into the Garden of Chaos. He has even strolled as far as the neighbour’s garden and climbed on top of the kitchen roof, but since his first encounter with Mister Downpour he now stays closer to home. Chuck sNorris on the other hand does not move far from the back door and bolts back inside at the least sound or movement (to the delight of the few surviving birds in the area I must admit). It is maybe better this way, as we don’t want these lovelies to be stolen or lost when they venture out too far – micro-chipped and with identified collars notwithstanding.
But their fear of the Great Outdoors does leave us with an unexpected problem. Now that the litter box has been gradually banished from the House of Chaos the timid twain have to conduct their business in the Garden of Chaos like all other Feline Denizens are wont to do, but rain adds to their reluctance and so do strangers; we have already had to clean up several urgent reminders relaying the message that rain and Maine Coons are not meant to be good friends and don’t mix well. Then, when Grumpy Man received a neighbour and stood talking with him in the garden, Chucky decided that the situation was simply too fraught with possible danger and took the (in his august view) less risky step: he dropped a big one in the hallway, on the Welcome-mat. Who says cats can’t talk to humans ?
Yet once the habit is formed it is not easy to break it: Chuck has now taken to drop/piddle his waste products in Grumpy Man’s working den and also managed -so far- to ignore the copious amounts of pepper strewn on the floor for just this reason and -perhaps to make a point ?- produced both number 1s and 2s straight IN the pepper patches. The discussion that has now ensued between Grumpy Man and the hapless kitty is still ongoing but I’m going to enlist the mediation services of Mister Feliway tomorrow. Besides, it’s not as if there isn’t a big, beautiful and serviceable sandy corner in the Garden of Chaos, kept loose with a rake and free of older debris by The Mistress on a regular basis, with a few plant pots providing some privacy. It’s also that perhaps The Mistress must add a lean-to. Our giants manifestly don’t like getting wet.
They do like treats and scritches though. Any new person who enters the House of Chaos is initially observed from afar by the wary twain who remain ever alert for the slightest reason that makes them bolt and dash upstairs. When after a while said person has not attacked them both Beau and Chucky will venture closer and inspect whether he or she may be carrying treats. When treats are forthcoming, which for instance has made The Strong Woman Of Flanders the timid twain’s instant Favourite Grandmother, all fear and shyness are thrown out of the window by the two begging harridans (who have by that time to deal with serious competition from the other Feline Denizens who know all too well from who the good grub comes). When treats are alas not forthcoming but scritches do ensue the visiting person may be treated to 6 kilos of purring affection. They are not lap-cats however. The 6 kilos remain firmly away from your lap. It’s the scritches they crave, not the Simian giving them.
Both Beauregard and Chuck sNorris are slowly adapting to their new lives in our House of Chaos. They’re keeping fit and trim with their rigid regime of fleeing up the stairs at the slightest provocation, like when we ascend the stairs at evening. But when you grab a toy all caution is forgotten and the twain launch themselves gleefully into the game. At that point the other Feline Denizens usually pitch in but the big boys don’t make a fuss about that: during play they all get along nicely, forgetting to be wary and cautious. Truly, in the House of Chaos toys are the ultimate peacemakers.
So is food when you come down to it. When The Mistress, or the Strong Woman of Flanders, doles out the Stinky Goodness she usually has a meowling posse circling around her legs. They all vie for her attention, expecting perhaps to have the good stuff scooped directly into their gaping maws but having to settle for gathering around the food bowls and pushing and shoving the others out of the way in order to sample the contents. There’s no fighting though, there’s just the scrummage for the scrumptious grub, and it’s not the heaviest kitty that wins the best spot either. It’s all about cunning and slyness and a well-placed paw at the right moment. Loup-Garou usually wins.
Picture below: Beauregard regally reclining in the couch
Chuck sNorris on a cushion
The Grub Scrummage (with the Strong Woman Of Flanders, Freya (you see her paws in the top left corner), Bean Sidhe, Hrimnir, Loup-Garou, Beau, Rikishi, Chuck and even Bliksem in the background)