So, I know it has been years since I’ve had a Sophie Sunday. I started them shortly after we adopted our sweet kitten for a few reasons, but mostly because we had a lot of growing pains with her. I have known for a very long time that I wanted a Maine Coon one day for their looks, personality, and temperament. I entertained the notion of buying a pure bred from a local breeder in 2006—then my health issues exploded and adding a pet to our lives was the last thing we were thinking about. Meanwhile, taking a step back gave me time to think about the choice of buying a pure bred.
I had not become a member of the ASPCA yet, but the pull to rescue an animal was so strong that I could no longer ignore what I really wanted to do. I was still interested in the breed, but I wanted to save an animal’s life more. Nick (he likes to take all the credit…which he should, because I was searching only for male Maine Coon rescues) found Sophie, who had been given the name “Bambi” by her foster home in Iowa. This kitten was close to six month old. Someone dropped off her and her siblings at a farm one day and sped off. The farmer took care of the litter in his barn over the winter and then took them to a pet rescue organization in the spring of 2007.
Let me just say for a second here that people who drop off animals at farms really suck. I wish they would be responsible and either try to find a home for the animals themselves or take them to a no kill shelter. Instead, many just leave them somewhere dangerous because they figure that if someone discovers them, they’ll be in good hands. They pull over their cars and leave new litters in the ditch, hoping baby kittens will figure out to walk to the barn. More often than not, they die on the road. IT’S CRUEL.
I will get off my soapbox now.
Fortunately, at least Sophie and her sister made it to the barn and the care of a kindhearted farmer. I am not sure if she had any other siblings. I just know that she made it through six months relatively healthy when her sister was all kinds of sick and not up for adoption. She had almost six months of being feral, instinct telling her that humans were mean and to avoid them, one week at a foster home, and then we came and uprooted her yet again. This time she didn’t even have other foster animals there. It was just me an Nick: the scary humans.
There were definitely times during those initial months that I regretted our decision to rescue such an unpolished animal. We never saw her, and she had so much anxiety and outright fear around us. I started doing Sophie Sundays because for a snapshot in time, I saw a glimpse of the sweet little cat that she might be one day. I say “little” lightly, of course. She is a Maine Coon. She started coming out for me more often, but she was still very skittish.
It took about six whole months before we were fully acclimated to each other. Today, Nick and I will both swear that she is the sweetest, most loving cat that either of us have ever been around. She is funny and curious, maintaining her kitten-like playfulness. She runs to the door when we come home from work and cuddles with us on the couch. She likes to be involved in whatever activity we are doing—making the bed is a particular favorite—and she starts purring if I just blink slowly at her. True, a lot of these are just plain, old, everyday Maine Coon traits.
Yet, there is a special closeness there. Sophie came into our lives not long after I found out that having children was not possible. She filled a void for both of us (and she is a pampered kitty, let me tell you). There seems to be a love there because we rescued each other.
The above picture was taken yesterday. She had a lion cut about six weeks ago, so her coat hasn’t quite grown back to its usual Snuffleupagus state yet. She’s so funny after she gets her summer crew cut: suddenly she is rubbing against and rolling on every surface because it feels so good without those layers of fuzz. We may try to squeeze in one more full cut in before the cold weather sets in. She really is spoiled—but so are we.