Cremocrop Boomerang Ballistic Davis (“Boomer”)
It started 15 years ago. I had recently lost Pen, my first cat. It was devastating. No cat could ever replace Pen but I knew I needed to get another and soon. Life completely alone would be unbearable. I had thought a Maine Coon would be interesting and found a local breeder, Cremocrop. I visited and fell in love with the kitten that would later be named Boomer. He was very active, smart, cute, and interactive. He was soon to be mine. As of this writing he was my first and only male cat. As a high energy kitten, he was quite a handful for several months. He grew quickly and became very large and powerful.
Boomer's full colors and shape developed by a year old, and his full size by under two years. As a full adult, he was almost 18 pounds of pure muscle with huge paws, big bones, a long body, a dense and shaggy yet soft coat, a very long fluffy tail, a white mane, and tufted ears. He was a “classic red tabby with white”, meaning he was actually about half orange tabby (his top half) and half pure white (his lower half). The tip of his orange tabby tail was white. He had a large nose below is gold/green eyes and a squarish head with extra-long, white whiskers. He bore the classic tabby “hood” on his head, with a few misplaced splotches on his mouth and front legs. He was just a stunningly beautiful cat- absolutely and unmistakably Maine Coon.
Despite my seemingly endless allergies to just about everything, I seemed to acquire an almost complete immunity to Boomer, something I never quite achieved with any other cat.
Boomer didn't necessarily have to be on top of me all the time, but he liked to be in the same room and would follow me from room to room. He liked to lay where he could see me. He wasn't overly vocal, but would always respond to me and let me know what he wanted and would offer a soft purr. He didn't mind being held, and I would often carry him around my neck like a very heavy scarf or like a baby. On the floor, he liked being petted and would let me lay my head on him (with most of the weight on my arm). I fell asleep that way too many times. He would often lay under the beams of light from the skylights and move with them as they traveled across the floor.
Boomer had always been very bright. In his younger years, Boomer spontaneously started to “fetch” things I threw. He would get very excited and trot after it, retrieve it, bring it back, and drop it in my lap. He loved the praise afterward and sometimes he was so excited seeing me happy when he was trotting back that he would drop what he was carrying several feet before he got to me. Later in life, he preferred to chase thrown food, and that became a before-bedtime ritual. Speaking of chase, he absolutely loved being chased around.... and when I stopped chasing him, he would come over to be “caught” immediately. He frequently liked to jump up in my lounge chair and be on or near me while I watched television.
Throughout his life, Boomer had a “thing” for twister ties. If he found one, he would carry it into the utility room and drop it in the water bowl. I never could quite figure out this behavior. Sometimes he would find several before I noticed and had to fish them out and throw them away.
He was insanely curious.... about everything. Anything new in his environment had to be immediately and completely examined and categorized..... smelled and touched.... then often laid upon. Like a dog, Boomer had to smell EVERYTHING. It was quite typical for me to get home and he would systematically start smelling me up and down my whole body, as if a few sniffs were just not enough. Lord knows what he learned from those sessions. If a stranger walked into the house, he would somehow make some quick judgment based on some unknown criteria and either be friendly or go hide in the bedroom. When they left, he would smell everything they sat on, touched, and sometimes even their foot-falls from the door. He went crazy for catnip, he would flip out and then shove his face in it until he almost drooled. Just smells like “tea” to me. Speaking of smell, Boomer, himself, had a very faint and pleasant musky scent, it was quite unique. Despite liking to be petted, he would quickly “clean” every spot where he was touched by a human. I never could tell if it was just his way of staying perfectly clean (which he was) or if it was just his way of enjoying the foreign smell. Needless to say, he spent a lot of time grooming.
No matter where he was in the room or what he was doing, if I got on all fours and bobbed my head up and down, he would get up, come over and give me a “head butt” (more like a skull-to-skull knock). I have seen cats do this before (none of my others, though), but never quite that hard or consistently. Afterward, I would usually hug him and talk to him and he would purr. He never did like me petting his stomach nor tail, a trait not shared with any other cat I raised. Somehow he was always “in tune” to my mood. If I was upset or sad, he would often come to comfort me. If I was excited or happy, he would want to play. If I was tired, he would sleep too. He took to Pen's white shaw, and would kneed on it, instantly, if placed on it. Curled up in a ball with his long tail wrapped around his face was one of his favorite sleeping positions.
As with all my cats, Boomer lived to drink water from the bathroom sink. I swear it must have been the highlight of every day, twice a day. Sink water was just so much better than water in a dish. Like me, he was very routine oriented. One day he was staring at me too much while I was flossing, he just had to have the floss. So I offered it to him, while still wound tight on my fingers. He proceed to “floss” his own teeth (mostly biting it), often grabbing one part with a paw. That started another routine for many months. I do wish I had videoed that.
I did not really allow him outside, he was an indoor kitty. Although there were some times I would let him out into the back yard. He instinctively tended to remain on the concrete path, so I reinforced that behavior. Back when he was young, I did try to get him to wear a harness/leash... it was so comical, he would fall over like he was completely defeated and hurt. I gave up on that pretty quickly.
He was a very sensitive kitty and didn't like being yelled at or corrected; thankfully he was typically very good. He loved being talked to and could recognize many words (and tones). Boomer had a huge range of fascinating body language to communicate every kind of mood and feeling.
In early 2000, when Boomer was about four, I decided I would like to have another cat at the same time. I brought home Isis, as a kitten, from Norfolk Cat Rescue. But as much as he loved me, he didn't seem to love Isis. He would tolerate her most of the time, and be mean other times. I do think she was at least somewhat entertaining for him, regardless of how he acted. More than once I caught them licking each other or laying very close together. Unfortunately Isis, my third cat, died at age five, fairly suddenly (I won't go into that here). It was then that it was apparent Boomer did like having her around. I then brought Kira (KK) into our home as a rescue kitten. Boomer treated her about the same. I should note that Boomer was jealous of both of them. If I was giving attention to Kira, he would come over and push her away. I suppose he just never really liked sharing me nor his space.
Boomer was easy to care for. He never missed the litterbox, required only moderate weekly grooming, was free-fed, was always at his ideal weight, and was never picky about food. He loved the sisal scratching post I made for him and used it all the time. He also really liked being brushed/combed, but it was all about the face... the rest of the body was a nuisance to be tolerated until the hand returned back to the face. He was always terrified of the vet. Thankfully, he had zero health issues until the CRF...
Boomer started losing weight and urinating excessive amounts at age 14. That is when he was diagnosed with renal failure (CRF) and switched to a special diet. The following 16 months he steadily lost weight until he was under 10 pounds but had a good quality of life. The special diet slowed the progression of the disease, but nothing could stop it. At 16 months, he almost stopped eating and the vet bloodwork confirmed the disease had progressed to the final stages. His last few weeks were a heart-wrenching routine of subcutaneous hydration and forced feeding. I had to confine him to the kitchen and watch, helplessly, as he became less and less active and alert. His face started to swell, and he lost most of his voice. At the point he was unable to keep down food or fluids and seeming always uncomfortable, I knew he was in terrible trouble. I finally got the feeling and the “look” from him that he was probably in pain and he became ever more withdrawn, distant, and cold. The time had come for me to help him pass, the hardest decision anyone would have to make for a loved one. On Aug 14, 2010, I let him go and he passed peacefully with the assistance of the vet.
Boomer lived his entire life in one place- with me in the house on Pascal. He brought me tremendous joy and happiness. Although he died at least a few years too young, I am so glad I had fifteen years to spend with him. I will never forget my Boom Boom.