Monty is a black smoke Maine Coon. He has the appearance and attitude of an entitled aristocrat. As long as I treat him in the manner to which he is accustomed, we get along just fine. I feel strongly the privilege that Monty extends to me every day, by allowing me into his inner circle.
Occasionally we clash if I want something to happen which isn’t his idea. The best way to deal with this, is to make him think it’s his idea in the first place. Yes he is a cat, but he is 8kgs of toned muscle and sheer determination.
Monty’s long, silver-grey fur is prone to matting in springtime, when the excess winter coat needs to be brushed out. If I am not clever enough to get around him, his belly fur and back trousers form solid lumps. If not removed, they will tighten and become very uncomfortable for him. So the race is on for me to get those lumps out before they get too bad, and to comb his fur like mad before more lumps can form.
Some years the lumpage is worse than others, and sometimes I have to give in and take him for a haircut, under sedation, at the vets. They will shear him like a sheep and although he looks ridiculous afterwards, he is perfectly happy rocking his summer crew-cut, lump-free.
Well, we are not there yet. There were lumps in his armpits which I managed to tease out, by taking advantage of a deep sleep and the window of opportunity it presented – about 5 minutes.
Much worse were the lumps in his back trousers. This is a location to which access is strictly forbidden. Even when fast asleep, Monty is alert to any rummaging in that area. He has sharp claws and he is very quick. This is a cat who can catch a squirrel, for goodness sake.
But yesterday – a breakthrough. Chilled out in his wool basket, drowsy with the heat, I approached with a small pair of scissors. I was lucky with the angle and – snip!- one lump, then two. Monty stirred, realised what I was doing, and joined in. He reached down and removed lump number three himself. Job done, and not a single scratch.
I am now reasonably hoping to avoid the expensive haircut at the vets…fingers crossed!