Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The cat of my cat's litter is my cat's...sister?

I was talking to this lady in my office about a cat she was pet-sitting, and I showed off my Chekhov to her. I gave her the spiel about how I don't really know if he's a Russian blue, but I'm sure he is because of all the personality and physical markers. Well, I guess she talked to her co-worker about him, because this girl, Brit, e-mailed me yesterday with pictures of her cat and she and I went back and forth.

"Is your cat OCD?"

"Does your cat have funny knock-kneed back legs?"

"Does he talk all the time? Mine talks all the time."

"Does she have toys she only plays with in the bedroom, and toys she only plays with in the living room? Chekhov gets upset when you switch them up."

"Or when you move furniture! Ovi  can't stand it when you move furniture!"

"And the paw cleaning!"

"The paw cleaning!"

One of these cats is mine. One is hers. You figure out which.

(they're cell phone pics in case you didn't know already...I probably have better pictures of Chekhov, but T-Mobile won't let me in until I change my password, but they won't let me change my password for some reason.)

Now, they look almost exactly alike, and that's to be expected. They're Russian blues. One of the true hallmarks of a blue is that their coat is dense, short, and three different colors of grey, starting with light at the bottom, a dark blue at the middle, and a shiny silver at the top. Their head shape, the color of their eyes, and the shape of their bodies are what define them.

This is a picture of a "breed pure" Russian blue. There is no discernable difference between this cat and my cat. Except mine has a goofier face and a fang that usually hangs out just a little. And mine is handsomer. Just saying.  
What else defines a cat is the personality. I've noticed that in breeding dogs, only bite, head shape, body shape, etc. define the breed, but only the terriers are expected to have specific personality traits. I went to a cat show once, and the Persian judges expected the Persians to be relaxed, the Abyssinian judges expected the cats to be playful and devious. Scottish folds are supposed to be curious (like Maru) (and if you don't know who Maru is, I feel sorry for you). Russian blues are supposed to be OCD, very into structure and schedules. They expect their food at a certain time, play at a certain time. Heck, Chekhov even goes to the bathroom at the same time every morning, and if the stank in the litter box isn't enough to get you out of bed at five in the morning, then I don't know what is.

Anyway, Brit and I were talking and we started realizing that our cats are the same age, and they were both found in shelters in south Orange County, and now we're starting to wonder if they could be litter mates. South OC isn't exactly a cat breeding area. They're mostly into dogs, since you can show off dogs more, and nothing says "South OC" like really extravagant things to show off such as cars, dogs, purses, sunglasses. Everything is directly calculated to make people think that you have money, which means that cats aren't a hot commodity since you can't have people over to the house--they'd figure out pretty quickly that you have absolutely no money and are a poseur because you live in squalor--and therefore no one can see your cat.

Anyway, it's a huge coincidence no matter what, and it was really cool to talk to another Russian blue slave (I hesitate to say "owner" when it comes to cats) who understands the unique situation of owning a cat that was bred to be neurotic.

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