We actually went to the shelter for an entirely different cat. We’d more or less decided on one we wanted to adopt when I noticed the Maine Coon kitten sitting in a nearby cage. Vic had read about how wonderful Maine Coons were supposed to be; the article had referred to them as “the Gentle Giants.” I said, “what about that one?” Vic was instantly smitten, and very soon Macbeth (really? Macbeth?)–renamed Hobbes–came home to stay.
At five months of age or thereabouts, Hobbes was already as big as our other cats. And he was still growing into his body. He was remarkably clumsy, failing to land his jumps and even tumbling off the edge of the bed for no apparent reason.
He got better, though.
The boy was always trouble. He took a dim view of (our) sleeping in on weekends. For a time, he had a thing for bread; he once stole an entire loaf off the kitchen counter, dragged it down the hallway and squashed it. Another time, he chewed up a roll of toilet paper and made himself a nest of the remains. And once he was tall enough to grab onto door handles, you had to lock a room to keep him out. We always had to warn visitors to be careful when using our bathroom.
It was not without just cause that among his many nicknames was “El Vomito.” Long hair = many hairballs = rude awakenings at 2:30 am.
We called him a “dog in a cat suit.” That seems to be a thing with Maine Coons: they love people. They come to the door to greet guests. And they will sit on the lap of whomever is the least comfortable with them.
Hobbes especially liked the ladies. We could never really be sure why, but he seemed especially fond of the female friend who was his frequent catsitter. He goosed her on at least one occasion.
To date, we’ve had four cats, and of them Hobbes was the one to whom we’ve been closest. Which actually wasn’t surprising, since he wanted to be wherever we were, whether we wanted him there or not. He was fifteen pounds of unconditional snuggle.
Admittedly, I would have preferred it if he hadn’t always insisted on sleeping between Vic and myself. But it was pretty hard to say no. In part, this was because it was so nice to feel that warm, purring lump in the small of your back. It was also because he never would have let us rest otherwise.
Being the size of a small dog–or, when he was jumping onto your stomach in the middle of the the night, a large bowling ball–he was easy to dress up.
He didn’t get along quite so well with our other cats, though the animosity was mostly directed at him. For a time we had a triangle of dominance: Hobbes bossed around Tigger, who bullied Cupid, who in turn smacked around Hobbes whenever he tried to get “frisky.”
However, things were different with our most recent cat, Boomer. I don’t know, maybe it was the wide age gap, or maybe it was because Boomer didn’t know any better. But it was not at all an infrequent occurrence to find the two of them huddled up.
Hobbes had been sick for the past couple of years. He had the kidney problems so often associated with older cats. He lost a lot of weight, dropping from nearly sixteen pounds to a mere nine by the end. We had to do a lot of work encouraging him to eat, but he took it pretty well.
He was part of our life–a very big, very lovable part–for more than fifteen years. As hard as it’s been to let go of him, we wouldn’t have traded our time with him for anything. The other day, Vic commented about the people who had left “Macbeth” at the Humane Society. She said that they missed out on the greatest cat ever.
Goodbye, Hobbes. We love you so much. Good kitty.