New cat soon to arrive here

Cathy and I signed papers to adopt a cat from a rescue network last night. It would be here already, but it’s being treated for a mild ear infection picked up at the pet store.

“It” is actually a he, a golden-eyed ginger-and-cream Maine Coon about two years old. The name is “Gorgonzola”, which we’ll probably shorten to “Zola”.

Why this cat? Because we’re of the school of thought that believes you should let a cat choose you rather than trying to choose a cat. Of all the ones we met, it seemed to take to Cathy the most strongly, and we viewed this as the more important compatibility check because we both know I have stronger cat-fu than she does. If a cat doesn’t take an active dislike to me (which is so unusual I can’t remember when it last happened) I will charm it eventually; this one likes me well enough to begin with that I’m sure we’ll do just fine.

It’s hard to avoid making comparisons with Sugar. First impression is that Zola is almost as human-friendly as Sugar was (which sounds like faint praise but is really like saying “almost as deep as the Pacific Ocean”) with a more placid, less active temperament. I’m not expecting him to be quite as outgoing with our houseguests, but I don’t think he’ll hide behind the furniture either. Likely he’ll just hang out nearby being mellow and making nice at anyone who approaches him. That’s typical behavior for Coon toms and he seems quite typical that way. He seems to be very gentle and un-clawful even by Coon standards, which is going some. I’d bet he’s great with small children.

We’re a little nervous, for all the obvious reasons. What if Zola has un-obvious behavior problems? Ill health? But it’s time. Our home feels a bit empty without a cat in it. Not for much longer!


  1. @Nancy Lebovitz I think you two will do well–I suspect that Zola is the sort of cat who prefers women, as Sugar preferred men. Eric has described his general affect pretty well. Even though he’s only 2 years old, I think he’ll be a pretty laid back cat, one who really wants a human who will share affection with him regularly in the form of pettings and ear scritchings. Hopefully, he’ll be equally laissez faire about more intimate activities. I have some reasonable hope about this–te let me clean some boogers from his eyes on first meeting. (He also purred as I stroked his head–something no other cat has done upon first meeting. Maybe Zola believes in love at first sight!)

  2. Eric, Cathy –

    Congratulations! I’m glad that you didn’t wait too long to get another cat into your lives.

    Far, far away, sitting in the lap of Bast, the spirit of Sugar lifts her head, and purrs loudly….

  3. Good for you! I hope three things:

    1) May he turn out to be healthy and well-behaved.
    2) May you post a picture of him when you can.
    3) Last but not least, may the three of you find the joy you deserve! (Since he seems to be very sweet, I’m sure that will be easy.)

  4. Glad to hear that a new feline friend has stepped up to fill the lack of cat companionship left by Sugar. Of course he will never be a replacement, but he seems a worthy successor. I hope he is healthy and enjoys long life chez Raymond.

    Now if only I can convince my mom to let my dad adopt a new cat… it’s been two and a half years and he needs one…

  5. @Shenpen Yes, Gorgon is a possibility, but a) the cat is male, not female, and b) it’s easier on the tongue to call out “Here, Zola” rather than “Here, Gorgon!” And “Gorgey” just doesn’t fly. :-)

    1. >Zola? Who’s he going to accuse?

      We were actually wondering that ourselves. “Accusatory” is not a word I would use to describe this cat.

  6. Good news that you decided to adopt a cat.

    I thought you might be shy of it, after the loss of a long-lived pet you’ve really become attached to.

    1. >I thought you might be shy of it, after the loss of a long-lived pet you’ve really become attached to.

      We were, a little. Sugar was such a paragon of the good cat that we weren’t sure we could avoid making comparisons that would be unfair to the new one. But we’re going to try, because there’s been a cat-shaped hole in our lives since she passed.

  7. I could see calling the cat Zola generally speaking, and Gorg if you’re annoyed with him. Or it might be worth seeing if there’s a name he responds to.

    Cathy, I’m not concerned about how I’ll be received. Cats generally like me.

    Cat massage. The sequence looks like it was done by a trained person on an unusually mellow cat, but I thought I’d try something that doesn’t start with the paws. So, sides of the neck, around the base of the ears, scalp, and shoulders. I think this is the first time Isaac rested his head on my shoulder. I bet I can get him to eventually tolerate getting his paws massaged.

    Thai cat massage— it didn’t even look like a cat until it alerted when it heard a noise or something.

  8. Zola could never “replace” Sugar; no cat could. Here’s hoping he proves a worthy successor…as worthy as our Penny was for Star.

  9. I am amused that both of your cats are named after foodstuffs that Eric avoids (sugar and cheese). :)

    Anyway – enjoy having a new feline overlord. Be aware that Maine Coons may keep growing until the age of 4 or so. Boris grew by another 4″ in body length and 7 lbs of mass post adoption, and the shelter thought he was full grown when I got him.

    1. >Be aware that Maine Coons may keep growing until the age of 4 or so.

      Yep, we know this. Sugar, who we’re pretty sure was a Coon mix, didn’t get her full growth until year three.

      BTW this is probably quite directly why Coons are a long-lived breed. Whatever genes regulate aging and maturation, evolutionary pressure seems to stretch whole lifespan more readily than it can change the ratio between juvenile and adult periods. Humans are an extreme case of this – we live long because we have a long maturation period because neonates need to exit early in order to fit the skull through the birth canal.

  10. I’m not sure the “exit early” theory is solid. Kangaroos live an average of 6 years in the wild, and up to 20 years in captivity.

    My bet is that people need a slow maturation period because we need to learn so much.

    My impression is that everything that correlates with not being a prey animal correlates with longevity, especially if you’ve got several of the traits– size, communal living, poison, armor, flight, lack of predators. Unfortunately, you can’t maximize all the traits at the same time.

  11. > The name is “Gorgonzola”, which we’ll probably shorten to “Zola”.

    I always have a bit of a disconnect when a proper noun ending in -a is of a male.

    (Both Monsterette 1 and 2 and one of M1’s daughters have -a first names, and M2’s daughter’s middle name is an -ah, which is effectively the same thing.)

    1. >Slightly OT, but your crowdsourcing SF post appears to have gone down the memory hole.

      Oh crap. So that’s what happened…

      I’ll have the actual list of books up soon. I’ll try to prepend some of the missing content to it.

  12. If I had a pet gorgon, I would totally name it Gorgey.

    (It’s too bad you don’t also have a pet dog; you could name it Dreyfus.)

  13. Way to get back on that horse … or, in this case, cat. I suspected the Raymond household wouldn’t be able to go very long without a feline friend.

    1. >I suspected the Raymond household wouldn’t be able to go very long without a feline friend.

      Cathy’s job is stressful. A cat is good for lowering her cortisol levels. For me it’s more optional.

    1. >Err, this link probably works for Cathy (authkey?), but doesn’t work for me; it redirects to all her posts

      ‘Sokay, just look a few posts down for the orange cat.

  14. ‘Sokay, just look a few posts down for the orange cat.

    No orange cat down to well below the tribute to Sugar.

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