Gentle Giant Doofuses

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

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Chuck sNorris on a cushion

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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)

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We have lots of feline friends at the Friday Ark and the Cat Blogoshpere. Why not visit them ? It’s a treat !!


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Coonie Craziness

A few weeks ago, June 29th 2013 to be precise, the House of Chaos was entertaining Simian visitors. As the Feline denizens busied themselves being cuddly and sweet around the visitors a lot of things were being discussed and done (Grumpy Man and The Mistress are Roboteers: we build fighting robots). At one point however did the discussion turn to Maine Coons. The lady of a fellow Roboteer had her eye on a Coonie that was available to her but our friend didn’t want more cats in their house than the queen and kitten they already had (and two woofies…). An understandable point, as Grumpy Man himself had already made clear the the current 6 feline denizens are the absolute maximum, although he couldn’t stop number 7 from walking in and make himself at home here. The lady proceeded to say that apart from “her” candidate another Coonie was to be had, and that both had a pedigree and would go for a negligible sum of money, but could she find a home for the two and then convince her life-mate to relent for one of them… Grumpy Man didn’t even ask The Mistress as he knew what her answer would be.

And so the next day we undertook the expedition (it’s a 1,5 hour drive) to our friend’s home in order to collect the twain which the lady had already fetched for us. Her life-mate still did not relent but we didn’t care anyway. We now have two Maine Coons !!!

Enter Chucky van Droomwereld and Chateau Beau van Spinnepoes. Alias Chuck sNorris and Beauregard.

Both were perfectly at ease in their travelling cages. Both were more than perfectly at ease travelling in a car (and were absolutely quiet during the entire trip !). But when they were released inide the House of Chaos both turned out to be perfect scaredy-kitties and went immediately into hiding. Beauregard ended up on top of the stairs to the attic, Chuck hid in our Nesting Room under a clothes rack behind a convenient laundry basket full of dirty bed linen (which The Mistress couldn’t find the heart to remove until two weeks later).

Both were immediately taken to the Man In White the next day, for a check-up and in order to inspect and register the chips. Yes, they are both chipped and both have a pedigree of a meter long. Chuck is 3,5 years old, Beau only 2 years. Chuck is already castrated, but Beau not and in this House we do strictly adhere to the principle to not procreate: the Simians won’t have offspring, and neither will the Felines. Hence an appointment was made for Beauregard to lose his conkers two days later. This meant keeping him in isolation for one night and half a day as he was not to eat. In order to avoid him becoming lonesome we decided to corral both him and Chucky in the spare nesting room. I’ve never seen cats jump that high when these two realized there was no escape from that room… And hissing and angry… But once in the tender arms of the Man In White Beauregard was as sweet and well -behaved as any owner could desire. Weird beast ! He did recover well from the surgery though. He just didn’t allow me to approach him for three days afterwards. ^^

The first week both kept themselves hidden away. When Beau was lying on the attic stairs he would hiss impressively to any Simian crazy enough to venture close. Sometimes he would hide elsewhere, not to be found. Chuck would just cower more deeply into his hiding place, yet after a night of two he would cautiously venture forth and inspect the snoring Simian(s) in the Nest, eventually settling himself in a basket next to The Mistress’ side of the Nest (we had acquired the basket from an auntie and no cat had ever slept in it before !). At the first sound or movement, however, he would scramble back into his hiding spot. But as the days passed both felines gradually ratcheted up their courage and started venturing out into the House of Chaos and its weird and wacky denizens. The need to eat and to relieve themselves certainly forced them to undertake a daily trip downstairs anyway. But then, so did the need for social contact. And the sheer irresistible lure of curiosity. We are now two weeks since their entry and, although still skittish, they come over for cuddles and scritchies readily enough and clearly recognize their respective names. We have also discovered that both would commit murder for a treat. They love treats. Did I mention that they adore treats ? They really like treats. Really.

Chucky, being the oldest, is also the more adventurous of the twain. He has already inspected Grumpy Man’s Work Den and even went so far as to gaze out into the Garden of Chaos (but refrained from actually stepping outside). Beau prefers to remain in the living room although he has to come over to the kitchen for food and the litter box from time to time. They have also discovered the joys of watching out of the window. As it is quite hot right now they prefer to repose in the hallway and on the stairs. However, both come out from time to time to say hello and have a few scritchies. It is clear that they crave contact.

But it is also clear that they have never had much contact with Simians before. Needing two weeks before allowing a Simian to pet you is rather long really. And they remain too alert for noise and movement, ready to bolt at the least provocation. Play seems also a bit of a strange pastime for them. On the other hand, both are endearingly happy with attention and are discovering with relish that petting is sensuously fun.

The other feline denizens of the House of Chaos have been on their best behaviour ever since the introduction of these newcomers. From the very first contact they proceeded with caution and a tact I had never suspected they possessed. Instead of mobbing the intruders they just… ignored them. It was the newcomers who had the hissing fits really. And the old hands were being laconic about it. That they were disturbed by the changes was evident when we saw them all sleeping in the Work Den. Freya even took up residence in the roof of the Work Den ! It was also clear to see at feeding time: when Chuck would move about there was this Chuck-shaped space the others didn’t intrude in. They would also pointedly ignore both Chuck and Beau when the latter would try and sniff at the others’ tails. All very polite and quiet like. Loup-Garou, ever on the lookout for potential nap-mates to cuddle up with, was the first to execute an actual nosey-nosey (greeting nose-to-nose). We are now breathlessly awaiting the overtures for a change from a détente-by-ignoring to the development of a warm friendship from the others. It’s still too early to tell.

Of course, after Grumpy Man had stated with vigour that “6 cats is more than enough, and well, maybe 7 could still be handled but no more than that !” it was he himself who had decided to take in numbers 8 and 9. And The Mistress ? She sits here typing this text with a huge huge grin on her face, gloating. We have Coonies !!!!

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Chuck sNorris