As you will have noticed, Charlie is a Maine Coon - which means that he is very much a long-haired cat. A beautiful long-haired cat, as many people have been kind enough to say about him. (I'm keeping that bit quiet as the admiration he's already had has gone to his head far enough already.
Long-haired cats obviously need a lot of grooming - regular grooming - or they don't stay beautiful for very long. Charlie is not a fan of being groomed. Particularly not when he has a just-healed sore spot on his neck, and lower down from a just-healed nasty abscess. So I have had a struggle to do any serious grooming this past week if I wanted to keep my hands. And as they are rather useful to me, I have had to do a basic minimum of the grooming thing or I would have been able to write this post.
The other thing about Maine Coons is that when they shed their winter coat (which is a long, heavy coat) they don't just shed like ordinary cats ie a few threads of fur here and there - that can be hoovered up quite easily. Maine Coon's winter fur gathers together into a clump and that clump is what sheds. This is what I try to groom off him.
But with the sore neck etc problem I haven't been able to do a full thorough grooming session. As a result, we knew that there was a large clump of fur that had gathered together and we were waiting - trying a bit more each day - to get it away from his neck and lower down his back so we could remove it - at least trimming off most of it. But yesterday he went out - messy clump attached - and came back without messy clump.
Fine, it had fallen off on its own. But this morning the lovely lady who lives along the road and her handsome Border Collie Dylan (who is way bigger than but frightened of Charlie!) knocked on our door in some concern. (Well the lady did - I know Border Collies are bright, but not that bright!)
'Is your cat all right ?' she asked, worried has he been in a fight or something . . ' She was afraid he might have met the local fox or perhaps a car. She held out the clump of fur that Dylan had
Luckily I was able to reassure here that this was simply Charlie shedding - but even I have to admit that if I'd spotted that lying in the middle of the road, I might well have feared that a small kitten had had a terrible accident - or that a cat had had a large chunk torn out of him. Either way, I really appreciated her taking the time and trouble to come and check that the big ginger guy was all right. Thank you so much kind neighbour - and Dylan.
It just shows what a couple of days missing grooming can do!
And, on a serious point, if you have a long-haired cat and don't groom it in the spring shedding season particularly - that lump of fur is what can end up being tongue-groomed - and swallowed and can end up blocking the cat's stomach. As you can see, Charlie has a lot more where that came from!
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