When my then-girlfriend Michelle first came to live with me 11 years ago, she wanted a pet. The apartment complex we lived in did not allow dogs. They did, however, allow cats. Knowing that I was a dog person, Michelle researched breeds of cats until she found the Maine Coon, a cat known for having a nearly dog-like personality. One was available about 90 minutes away, so after much cajoling, she talked me into getting it. Because some lore suggested they might be descended from cats that came over with the Norse a thousand years ago, we named him Viking Shadow.
Our little viking and I had a very rough beginning. It was annoying, shrill, and I couldn’t stand it. Michelle loved the thing however so I figured I’d let her have her cat and I’d just deal. Remember, I’m a dog person. (I was even born in the Chinese Year of the Dog).
But a strange thing happened. I don’t know if Shadow could tell that he’d alienated me with a few too many scratches, if I was a challenge to him, or some feline reason I’ll never guess, but he made it his goal in life to win me over. He’d come up to me to give me attention, seek out my company, come when I came home or when called. To the point that Michelle noted that he’d become a “Daddy’s cat.”
And it worked. All that sweetness melted my heart. And these days he spends most of his days with me:
When he’s not on top of the speaker, he’s under a chair:
That’s not to say he dislikes Michelle. Before he woke up and moved into my office/studio, he was hanging out in Michelle’s closet, where he likes to make a little den in her dresses:
At 11 years old, Shadow is far from young. But he’s extremely healthy (his only problem really is that he’s extremely thin…yup, we’re jealous too) and I’d like to imagine he has another 11 years (or more) to go. I’ve become quite fond of the little devil.
But I’m still a dog person.