Personal Growth
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The rest of the day it stayed snuggled on my shoulder wrapped in my hair. I went to the pet store on the next street over to see if they had any escapees but they didn't and they were not interested in taking any. I bought it some food, dishes and cat box and went back to my office with it. I made a poster and took downstairs to put up in the local bakery to see if anyone would like to take this baby home, but by the end of the day no one came for him. I wasn't sure how my other two cats would take to him but I wasn't going to leave him.

Little did I know the treasure that found me that day! I named him Scruffy, because his fur went in multiple directions. His hair looked like he had just woke up. He had personality plus and he kept growing and growing and growing. Then one day I realized he looked like a cat I had seen on the front page of Cat Fancy Magazine. I found my copy and found the name of his breed.Then I looked it up on the internet. Sure enough, he was the exact image of a Maine Coon Cat and the mystery of why he acted the way he did and why he kept growing was revealed.

Main Coon Cats come in many different colors but the brown with tabby markings is the most common. Their eye color varies from green to green-gold or gold, just like tiger cat eyes. Most have the similar distinct "M" shape on their forehead. They have medium-long thick fur that drapes over the main part of their body onto the backs of their legs making it look like they are wearing shaggy pants. Little tufts of hair peek out from between their toes and ears. The tufts between their toes are believed to be an adaptation to the extreme Maine winters designed to keep them warm. Their ears resemble those of a lynx. The long hair around their chest gives them a 'lion-like' look. You can see why they have been nicknamed the 'tail with a cat attached,' because it is so long and bushy.

It is believed by many cat breeders that the breed came from a mix of short haired domestic cats and longhaired Angora cats brought to the eastern seaboard by seamen and possibly even earlier by the Vikings. They are known as the 'gentle giant' because of their size and sweet disposition. They can weigh as much as 25 pounds, with the average weight for males between 13-20 lbs. For females, the average weight is between 7-11 lbs. In comparison, the estimated average weight of the average house cats is between 7 to 14 pounds, depending on the breed. Main Coon Cats have been known to grow to 40 inches long. The longest cat on record in 2006 was a male Maine Coon measuring 48 inches long! It takes them longer to reach their full size than most cats, maturing between 4 to 5 years, rather than the average 2-3.

The origin of Maine Coon cat is surrounded in bits of myth and mystery. It is believed to be one the oldest breeds in North America. Besides coming over with the Viking they also some made their way across the ocean in the boats that carried immigrants from Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. After escaping from boats that landed in New England, they appeared to have settled in the wilds of Maine where they had to face severe winters with freezing temperatures and deep snows. Only the strongest and most adaptable cats survived developing into a large, rugged cat with a water-resistant thick coat and resilient health.

As one story goes a domestic cat lost its way in a blizzard and was taken in by a pack of raccoons. Later it mated with one, resulting in offspring with large bushy raccoon-like tails. Of course this isn't biologically possible. Another myth is that their name came from a ship's captain named Coon who helped the cat reach the shores of Maine. Then there is the story that Marie Antoinette sent her six pet cats to Wiscasset, Maine. Her plan was to join them, to escape from the French Revolution, but as history shows she didn't make the trip. Her cats mated with local cats, creating the Maine Coon.

Regardless of how they got here, they have been found to be highly intelligent, playful, loving and, at times, very energetic. They use their front paws like a hand, picking up objects, opening cabinet doors, flushing toilets and even eating or drinking from them rather than a bowl. Their many antics make them a source of 'live entertainment' in a household.

However, owners need to be aware that Maine Coon Cats have special health risks that need to be monitored carefully. These include hip dysplasia(a deformity where the hip- joint and ball of the leg don't fit together causing a great deal of pain), kidney disease, heart problems and gum disease. Otherwise, they are very hardy, healthy and fun animals who can live to be over 20 years old.

So, the mystery has been solved for why my cat behaves the way he does. His running through the house at top speed climbing up the curtains. He desire to sit in my lap and look up at me with his whimsical eyes. How he uses his use of his paw to drink his water, and seeing his big bushy tail go down the hall are just a few of the many parts of the personality of my Maine Coon Cat. He is my Scruffy. My special friend and companion. For more information and pictures of Maine Coon Cats go to: http://www.cfainc.org.

Deborah Chelette-Wilson is a relationship coach, authoress and speaker whose powerful message for women is "It's time to stop waiting for permission to be all that we can be(without being a bitch about it)." Her inspiring message helps women harness their personal power, find peace within and become part of the shift in creating healthier and more loving relationships, beginning with the one with their self. In order to honor someone else's heart you must first honor your own.