By my count, my family has adopted 13 cats since I was born (and I’m probably forgetting a couple). We are exclusively a pet adoption family, going to a local shelter when a new space opens up in the roster. Although more often than not, unwanted pets find their way to us regardless of our desire to add to the brood. Like the time our very independent Maine Coon cat went on an extended tour of the neighborhood, prompting us to put up “Missing” posters, and when our Coon came back a week later our neighbors had gifted us with three other brown striped cats in his absence.
Each of the cats in this baker’s dozen has had a unique personality, and a slightly different relationship to all of the human members of the family, but over time a few cats have stood out from the pack. One of those stars is Finn.
Finn is one of those cats that wandered into our lives of his own accord. My mother and sister had stopped for gas at a local station and noticed him on the edge of the parking lot. My sister got out to take a closer look, and couldn’t believe how friendly he was. The owner of the gas station said someone had dumped a few cats there earlier in the week, and Finn-to-be was the only one left. (Obviously the owner had no interest in taking any kind of responsibility for the abandoned cats, even to drive them to the shelter.) So, Finn was bundled into the car and taken to his new home with us. A dozen futile “Found” posters and a microchip scan later, we knew he was ours to keep.
Finn is a purebred red Persian, fulfilling the breed standards well enough to be a showcat, or so we’ve been told. We adopted him in 2007, and he was full grown then, so he is at least 9 years old. That number seems impossible, because he still has the personality of a kitten. He’s the dopiest, most playful cat we’ve ever had. Apparently friendliness is a defining characteristic of the Persian breed, and he is the most human-oriented cat I have known. He wants to be held, squeezed, or carried around more or less at all times. If physical contact is an impossibility, he’ll sit as close to you as possible and just purr. Even if that location is on the other side of a door. He loves to perch on stairs and watch the action of the house. His favorite activity is probably grooming time, where his long orange fur comes off by the pound. In the summers, we shave his torso for comfort, and he resembles a lion cub.
As the oldest domesticated breed, Persians have been conditioned into perfect companion pets, at the expense of any sense of self-preservation. Finn was always an indoor cat for us anyway, but it turns out that Persians are so street-dumb that they are never supposed to be let outside. From time to time Finn still entertains that idea, however, and once even managed to find an open window without a screen in place. Somehow he made it onto the roof of the porch and down to the stoop below, crying to be let back in. It must have been a very adventurous fifteen minute excursion, and I was always tempted to let him recreate it just so I could watch.
In addition to his other virtues, Finn’s squashed bone structure makes him very photogenic, in my opinion, and my siblings and I couldn’t resist sharing snapshots of him with the world in his own Instagram account.