This is Shy Precious of Schick. We called her Precious.
She was the best sister ever. Mom says that she was her favorite cat ever, but we are not jealous because we all loved her so very much. Her birthday was March 8, 1978. She died nearly 10 years ago at the age of 19.
She was a beautiful fluffy Maine coon cat. Her coloration was called "torbie," a tortoiseshell patched tabby.
Precious was a "show cat." She was born in Richmond, Virginia and was later bred and shown by Sharon Bass of Fairfax Station. Mom was living in a townhouse with two friends shortly after college and she was sad and catless. Her landlord had a "no pets" clause in the lease, but he was a reasonable man. Mom had a friend who had a friend who was friends with Mrs. Bass, the owner of Schick Cattery, named for her and her husband Rick.
Well, Mrs. Bass had a three-year-old Maine coon who had been bred and she wanted to find a good home for her. She didn't show as well as she might because she was shy around judges, and she didn't get along well with the other females in the cattery. Apparently the females were allowed out of their cages to roam the house when they were not in heat, but Precious didn't fit in too well with them. She had already been bred a couple of times. Mom was taken to see her, and Mom thought that she was the most beautiful fluffy cat she had ever seen. It was settled and the deal was that Mom could have her free of charge, but she had to agree to have her spayed right away.
Mom negotiated with the landlord, and the amended lease specified an exception for "one cat." Yay!
Mrs. Bass wrote a book about Maine coons, and Precious is pictured on pages 12, 107, 116-117, and 144.
Here is her centerfold photo that does not do justice to her
Once Precious overcame some of her shyness, she and Mom bonded right away. Mom loved to cuddle her and nuzzle in her fluff. Except for all the fluff, Precious was an average-sized cat. Mom had thought that Maine coon cats were huge, but later learned that it was males, not females, that were generally large.
Mom and Precious lived blissfully for several years until one of Mom's housemates decided she wanted to get a cat. By this time the group had moved up to a big single-family home from a townhouse apartment so there was plenty of room. Vickie adopted little Gus, a too-young black kitty whose mean owners wanted to put him and his littermates down and wouldn't even let Gus continue to nurse. Mom was worried that Precious would not do well with Gus because she seemed to hate all cats, especially the back yard intruders who would torment her at the sliding glass door. Well, guess what? Precious LOVED little Gus and she was even tolerant of his suckling on her. Gus ended up as Mom's cat a few years later, and one of the reasons was that Vickie didn't want to separate him from Precious.
Mom, Precious, and Gus moved to the house we live in 20 years ago. Poor Gus died at the age of six of stomach cancer. It was a very sad time for Mom and Precious. A few months later I, Bathsheba, came into the picture:
See how nice Precious is to me!
And even though she was already 13, she enjoyed playing with me.
She was 16 when I, Jake, came into the picture, but she was just a wonderful cat mother to me and she still liked to play. She took an instant liking to me (who wouldn't?), and I think that's what put Bathsheba against me. She was jealous because Precious loved me, but it's not like she stopped loving Bathsheba.
Precious was lovely and even tempered, but she never had much to do with Mom's roommates unless they were the food source when Mom was out of town. Precious remained somewhat shy as she always hid when Mom's "squeally" young nieces came to visit. But she wasn't all fluff! When she went outside, she could defend her territory like no other. She was fierce. Even as an old grande dame, she could chase Casey, the neighbor's male Siamese, from the yard fleeing in terror. She developed kidney disease at the age of 18, and Mom somehow learned to give her subcutaneous fluids. She trusted Mom with that and was amazingly cooperative. Mom was pleased that Precious lived to the advanced age of 19, but Mom always felt a little cheated because she didn't know Precious for the first three years of her life.
These few paragraphs cannot do justice to the love and loyalty that she showed Mom and us. We still miss her after these ten years. Happy Birthday, dear Precious.
Labels: Gus, Precious