We were lucky enough to spend 13 wonderful years with Lily, my sweet (and a little weird) rescue cat. When my now 14 year old son was just 9 months old, my husband and I decided it was time to adopt our first pet together. So much life has happened in those 13 years since we brought her home; we've moved twice, welcomed 2 babies, lost loved ones, and throughout it all Lily was there willing to give a snuggle or a reassuring look.
Lily was a happy cat but she never could purr. In the middle of the night she would loudly meow throughout the house and leave "gifts" for me near my bed. Usually they were just small stuffed animals or toys, but sometimes it was pieces of trash or socks. I used to find it annoying to step on sharp little toys when I'd first get out of bed, but now that she's gone I miss finding those little treasures when I wake up. She wasn't a fan of chicken or cat treats, but if she heard the faint rustling sound of a shredded cheese bag she would come running and meow for just a little bit of cheese. Her favorite place to hangout was in the bottom of our pantry or in my son's room, and it seems strange without her around. No more meowing in the middle of the night, no more little paws on my leg begging me for just a little bit of my lunch, and no more snuggles. My heart breaks thinking she's no longer here and I can't pet her anymore. But after her not wanting to eat and her quality of life being very poor, I didn't want to see her suffer. Lily was put to sleep on October 28, 2019 and we all are grieving the loss of another wonderful, irreplaceable cat.
My wish is that Lily is in heaven running around with Beatrix and eating all the cheese she wants. Rest in Peace my sweet Lily.
Meet Snookie, the newest addition to our crazy cat crew (and family)!
Snookie joins us from the Netherlands, and on her first day in her new home she was terrified of us. Understandably so after spending hours in a crate, flying halfway around the world, and coming to a brand new home. When we adopt new kitties, we always quarantine them until the vet gives the all clear that they are healthy and free from parasites. We tucked Snookie in for the night, gave her fresh water and a new bowl of food, and let her relax. After a good nights rest, Snookie warmed right up to us!
When my Beatrix was alive I would hold her on her back like a baby. I did the same thing to Snookie and the look in her eyes looked so much like Beatrix it was unbelievable. Beatrix also purred louder than any cat I have ever met and so does Snookie! Maybe it's one of those unexplainable "God Things" or just a coincidence, whatever the reason I am taking it as a sign that Snookie was meant to be here with us.
I'll admit I suffer from anxiety and depression. Most days are great, but some days (especially long, cold, dark, winter days) are just HARD! If you don't have anxiety, first off I envy you! But if you are a fellow anxiety sufferer, hello my friend you are NOT alone. You're probably wondering what does this have to do with breeding cats...well in a sense, everything.
When researching breeders in the United States, most Maine Coon cat breeders are selfish with breeding rights and I don't blame them one bit. In fact, I'll be the same way. These are NOT just cats to me, they are a dream and are treated with love and respect every single day. Because I am "new" at the breeding aspect of cats (we've rescued, bottle fed and raised several cats but have not bred them before) most US breeder's I contacted were reluctant to let me own one of their babies to breed. I understand them and respect their wishes and hope to do business with them in the future once I have had experience.
On a different note, I knew that I wanted to raise healthy cats most importantly. Not only do I want them to be big, beautiful and friendly, but the most important thing to me is to produce healthy kittens. Several breeders that turned me away offered their advice and said to contact breeders in Ukraine and Russia. Kris King, Stella, and Voodoo came from a fantastic breeder and we are so happy with the cats plus we stay in constant contact with the breeder. The breeder in Russia has been a learning experience. She did not send pedigree papers as promised and it has taken months to get them and Beatrix died just 2 months after we adopted her from FIP. She is not a breeder I would recommend using and I would not adopt from someone who takes weeks to respond to questions.
Anxiety means I overthink every single situation and what could possibly go wrong. There's no exception when it comes to breeding cats either, I worry about their health, their temperament, the cost of vet bills (and food and litter and toys), and if they would be happy here. After all they did fly across the world to come to the United States and their entire lives are different now. They have toys to play with, treats, cat towers, window perches, scratching posts, and lots of love. I would hope they are happy here ;)
So what is a good breeder?
Someone that offers a health guarantee, contract, has them registered and has papers for them, and bonus points if they have champion cats in their lineage. Showing cats is no easy feat, and they must be healthy and disease free to be shown. Most breeders will have a "no declaw" policy in their contract along with a clause on spaying or neutering your cat.
Voodoo. Her name is absolutely perfect for her. She traveled all the way from a fabulous breeder in Ukraine and she is still getting used to being in America with new owners, a new home, and a new life! She was used to eating a raw diet, and although several other breeders would agree this is the best diet for them, we disagree for several reasons. Anyway, enough about food, let's talk about my girl!
Voodoo is the smallest of our Maine Coons and is quite the boss lady. She had our 70lb malamute (Suki) trapped behind our couch and would not let her out. Suki cowered and cried until we came to her rescue. Voodoo is not one that looks for attention or affection during the day, but at night (especially at 3am) she demands snuggles. She will only calm down if I tuck her under my arm and under the covers. Maybe it's warm there? Maybe she likes armpits? Whatever it is I love my little girl and her quirky behavior. Given I'm an insomniac and rarely sleep through the night, I don't mind her 3am demands for snuggling!
Kris King joined our family on August 9, 2019 after a very long voyage all the way from Ukraine! You might be wondering why we didn't just buy locally and nearby. After breeding hedgehogs for several years, I understand the importance of a healthy breeding stock free of disease, health problems, and genetic defects. Not only did I want to adopt healthy cats with amazing temperaments, but I wanted to breed Maine Coons with European Lines. The European Maine Coons are typically more "wild" looking with more distinguished facial features, a stockier build, and bigger in size. There were no breeders within the United States that had what I was looking for, but Sergey (a wonderful breeder in Ukraine) came highly recommended.
My kid's originally wanted to rename Kris to Smirnoff (where are my Stranger Things fans?) but Kris already knew his name and comes when called. Kris is an International champion cat with a huge personality and is huge in size, 15lbs at just 9 months old! He loves to meow throughtout the house looking for someone to pick him up, pet him, and tell him how handsome he is! After the devastating loss of Beatrix in July, Kris has brought some much needed happiness and laughter to our home.
Welcome home Kris!
After Beatrix was diagnosed with FIP, the vet explained that there is no treatment and no definitive reason why cats get this disease. I made a promise to her that once she started struggling to breathe again I would have her euthanized.
FIP is heartbreaking and not fair. Why her? Why me? I hoped and prayed for my cat's to arrive here safely after years of waiting to fulfill this dream, and it seemed like a cruel trick to have to say goodbye to her already. I'm still heartbroken, angry, and a little lump rises in my throat when I see pictures of her and talk about her. Someone shared this poem with me and somehow it has brought me peace.
My dear human,
I see that you are crying, for it is my moment to leave. Don't cry, please. I want to explain some things to you.
You're sad because I left, but I'm glad I met you.
How many cats like me die daily without meeting someone special like you?
I know it saddens you my departure, but I had to go now.
I want to ask you not to blame yourself for anything. I heard you sobbing that you should have done something else for me. Don't say that, you've done a lot for me! Without you I would have known nothing of the beauty I carry with me today.
You must know that we animals live the present intensely and we are very wise: we enjoy every little thing every day, and forget the bad past quickly. Our lives begin when we know love, the same love you gave me, my angel without wings and two legs.
Know that even if you find an animal that is seriously injured, and that you only have a little bit of time in this world, you provide a huge service by accompanying you in your final transition.
None of us likes to be alone, except when we realize it's time to leave.
Maybe for you it's not so important that one of you is next to us caressing us and holding our paw, helps us go in peace.
No more crying, please. I'll be happy. I have in memory the name you gave me, the warmth of your house that in this time became mine. I take the sound of your voice talking to me, even though I don't always understand what you were saying to me.
I carry in my heart every caress you gave me.
Everything you did was very valuable to me and I thank you endlessly, I don't know how to tell you, because I don't speak your language, but surely in my eyes you could see my gratitude.
I'm just gonna ask for two favors. Wash your face and start smiling.
Remember how good we live together these moments, remember the antics I made to cheer you up.
Relive like me all the good we share in this time.
And do not say you will not adopt another animal, because you have suffered a lot from my departure. Without you I would not live the beauties I lived.
Please don't do this! There are many like me waiting for someone like you.
Give them what you gave me, please, they need it just like I needed you.
Don't keep the love you have to give, for fear of suffering.
Follow my advice, cherish the good you share with each of us, recognizing that you are an angel to us animals, and that without people like you our life would be harder than sometimes it is.
Follow your noble task, now it's up to me to be your angel.
I will accompany you in your path and help you help others like me.
I will talk to other animals who are here with me, I will tell you everything you have done for me and I will point and say proudly: "that's my family".
Tonight, when you look at the sky and see a blinking star I want you to know that it's me flashing an eye; warning you that I arrived well and telling you "thank you for the love you gave me".
I say goodbye now not saying " goodbye ", but " see you later ".
There is a special sky for people like you, the sky where we go and life reward us by making us meet there.
I'll be waiting for you!"
Rest in Peace my sweet girl <3 Someday we will meet again!
I waited months to bring my Beatrix home. For years I begged my husband to let me breed Maine Coons, and when he finally agreed I began researching breeders. Most breeders in the United States will not release breeding rights, so I found a recommended breeder in Russia. When I placed my deposit on my sweet baby Beatrix, I fell in love with her and we hadn't even met. She flew all the way from Russia, and I was expecting her to be very nervous and shy. When I opened up her crate at the airport, she jumped right into my arms and purred. She was happy to be out of her crate, and I cried tears of joy that she was finally here. Safe and sound and healthy, or so we thought.
Beatrix flew with Sullivan, a male from the same breeder, and immediately we noticed the size difference between them. I chalked it up to age difference, gave her canned food and chicken, but as Sully nearly doubled his weight in a matter of weeks, she barely put any weight on.
In the beginning of July, Beatrix became more sluggish, and I noticed her struggling to breathe. The vet diagnosed bronchitis, and after 10 days on antibiotics she got worse. The vet drained fluid from her little lungs, sent the fluid off to the lab, and we anxiously waited for results. The morning of July 15 the vet called. The sun was shining through my bedroom window, everything was calm and quiet. I had hoped and prayed for this to be something curable. There was no way I could prepare myself for the terrible news. When the vet told me I should sit down for the results I knew in my heart the results would not be what I asked and prayed for. My sweet girl, our "little weasel", was diagnosed with FIP. Those three little letters meant absolutely nothing to me before, and changed everything.
My love for animals started as a child and never stopped.
We rescued a Maine Coon mix kitten 7 years ago and named him Crixus (a character off of Spartacus). Crixus thinks he's a dog, and our dog thinks she's a cat.
When we adopted Crixus I assumed he'd be just like any other cat, demanding affection and attention on his terms, meowing when his food bowl was empty, and otherwise minding his own business. I was so wrong. Crixus wants CONSTANT attention from everyone and anyone that comes to our home. He doesn't want to do his own thing, he wants to be around people at all times. After researching Maine Coons and discovering that they are one of the friendliest breeds of cats, I knew I wanted to breed them. After breeding hedgehogs for almost 6 years, I know the importance of breeding healthy animals with pedigrees. I want people to be able to adopt healthy, happy Maine Coons from us, and hopefully in the future we will have adorable, happy healthy kittens that will steal your heart like Crixus did!