It's a sad time for our family this week, as we said goodbye to our dear Finn. We adopted Finn some 14 years ago from an animal rescue organization, and he was the biggest, furriest cat we have ever had, about 25 pounds at his top weight, and as sweet-natured as he was enormous. He was also a very sociable guy who enjoyed greeting visitors with his friendly wide-eyed gaze, a wave of his amazing plume of a tail, and a nudge with his fuzzy muzzle. Except for the fluid that swelled his cancer-filled belly, he had shrunk to nothing but matted fur over protruding bones in the past two months, and when I saw that he could barely open his eyes, I knew it was time to say goodbye. Our dear kind veterinarian, Dr. Leisa Brockett, came to our house Thursday morning and helped Finn enter his final sleep in the kindest, most peaceful way. We are sad, but also happy that Finn is suffering no more. And ever so grateful to Dr. Brockett for helping to make Finn's passing as easy as possible.
Although Finn was a stray and no one was sure where he came from, he certainly exhibited most of the characteristics of being a Maine Coon Cat, with his prodigious size, broad sweet kitten-like face, and mellow nature. He was the most undemanding cat I have ever known, content to just amble about the house looking adorable and loving to be loved -- and also looking for the coziest spots for a cat nap. He especially loved baskets filled with clean laundry, warm from the dryer.
Other cats came and went in our household during his lifetime, and he was always a welcoming friend to all of them. (He even tolerated our daughter's visiting dogs with calm equanimity.) He never battled for dominance (as our female cats did), and he served as a warm furry foster dad to a pair of feral kittens we captured and kept for our own. Here's little Cleo snuggled against his flank.
And here's little Bebert greeting his big Uncle Finn.
Finn was always tolerant of the kittens' peskiness, but sometimes he used a gentle swat from his big furry paw to let them know who was boss.
One of the reasons I love this photo of Finn keeping cool on a hot summer day is that it shows off to great advantage those enormous fuzz-tufted paws.
Finn amiably tolerated all our cats (we've had as many as five at one time), but his special buddy was Selene (may she also rest in peace). They frequently slept curled together, and Selene would often wash Finn's face as they snuggled together. Sometimes in the middle of all this seeming affection, Selene would suddenly bite Finn hard, and he would draw back, astonished, but never once returning a bite for a bite.
I'm so grateful for the blessings our kitties brought to our home, the laughs they gave us, the love they showed us, and the warmth they shared at naptime on cold winter days. Farewell, sweet Finn. I like to imagine you and Selene are once again snuggled together in some special heaven made for beloved pets.