Happy Birthday, Your Lordship | News, Sports, Jobs


He had his birthday last week, although the celebration was modest. Born on St. Patrick’s Day, Finian O’Brien, a “good boy broth”, was 4 years old. As they say in Killarney, “It was a great occasion.”

Now you would expect a 4 year old’s birthday to be celebrated with a bunch of balloons, a few games with a bunch of other 4 year olds, topped off with ice cream and cake. Lots of loud hijinks. Fuggedaboudit. Finian is not very sociable.

Instead, he enjoyed his private party with a tuna and sole classic. One of Fancy Feast’s bestsellers. Finian is our Maine Coon cat, and yes, he is very spoiled. I followed this gourmet dinner with a teaspoon of vanilla ice cream – no cake – and he gulped it down with great satisfaction… two mews.

His real birthday present was small: a small pack of three fluffy mice. No, not real ones, but almost better from his point of view. They have pockets on their stomachs that close with velcro… after filling them with catnip. Ahhhh – now it’s a gift, mom.

Most cats purr when they are satisfied. In four years, I have never heard this beautiful beast purr. I don’t think he doesn’t appreciate it, I just don’t think Finian was given a purr button at birth. Either that or he’s not really satisfied yet.

Our former feline, Ollie, was about 93.4% Maine Coon. I was captivated by her beauty and endearing personality. He possessed the wide and high tail, the ears of lynxes, the big paws of snowshoes filled with fur. When we lost Ollie after 17 joyful years, I was devastated. He was truly irreplaceable. But time passed – solitary lap time – and I thought, if Ollie was a Maine Coon, imagine how big a real one would be. Think again.

He arrived as the lightest face in a litter of five boys at the breeder’s farm. Since Maine Coon kittens are highly sought after, the only place to acquire one is from a breeder.

I looked at the photos or videos posted daily by the breeder after their arrival. Before my eyes, they went from a restless, closed-eyed crew to being adorably bright and active.

Somehow the breeder caught their attention lined up on a bench looking at his camera – four of them. Finian was always alone – either to the side or behind the other four. If the images were of a cat tree with a kitten on each level, Finian stood on the nearby table. I was so enchanted by his pictures that I never wondered why he was still separated. He’s still a loner.

I had different expectations of this little creature. I thought he would be a buster – 15 to 18 pounds, not unusual for Maine Coons. He reached just under 12 pounds. I also thought he would be super playful and affectionate – typical of the breed. Still wrong. He will tolerate attempts to engage him with a toy, but only once in a while. Affection? No.

He has favorite perches all over the house, but none of them are tricks. Yes, we live in the kingdom of Finian. We play by his rules. Remember that dogs have owners, but cats have staff. This old adage has never been truer than in our house… I mean in Finian’s castle. We are the serfs.

Finian’s breakfast automatically goes to Dear Richard, the first early riser. Afterwards, Fin succumbs to brushing – a must with these long-haired beasts. It literally took her all her years to learn to tolerate this daily ritual. Grooming is immediately followed by exactly nine snacks. He shyly approaches each little square with a suspicious snort, a look at me, then a devouring lick. Repeat. Repeat. Each provisional, uncertain. I wonder if this shy little guy will ever become confident.

And yet, despite his lack of cuddling, hugging and purring, I love him. Her solitude conceals a gentle and tolerant nature. He meets everyone at the door, sniffs out their credibility, and when satisfied, leaves for a nap station. He’s not destructive at all, in fact he’s very respectful. He is so careful that in four years he hasn’t broken anything.

Between long naps, he spends hours at the window, bewitched by birds and squirrels. But at 5:50 p.m. he stands in front of us, patiently sitting until the clock strikes 6. Then he heads to the laundry room, ahem, his throne room, for dinner. He expects to be followed by the dinner servant.

I lamented her lack of tenderness towards a visitor, and she exclaimed: “When you’re so beautiful, you don’t have to be nice. You can just be. I hadn’t thought of it that way.

Yeah, I’ll take it. I will wait for his little crumbs of affection because he is so special. Personal note: “Buy more catnip; the lord of the manor should be delighted.

Marcy O’Brien writes from her home in Warren, PA. She can be contacted at [email protected]

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