I feel it is now time to tell the story of our big black Maine Coon cat Raisin.
Sixteen years ago, before Erle and I were married, I was a housesitter looking after a very nice home in Blenheim while the owners went overseas. These people owned a spaniel dog and a young girl boarder, which I was to look after and feed – both of them! No problem, the dog was well trained and the young girl Tracy was a pleasant person. One day she asked if her girl friend, which was going to be passing through Blenheim on route to Auckland to live, could possibly stay overnight with us. I was only too pleased to have her share the boarder’s room. Both girls spent their time giggling in Tracy’s room, as girls are likely to do.
During the evening I went outside for some reason and could see a big fluffy black cat sitting in the middle of Tracy’s bed. I gathered that was the reason for all the giggling and playing in the bedroom, but I didn’t mind and didn’t mention the word Cat.
After a pleasant night, I woke to hear Tracy and her friend, tiptoeing around the house and also out doors whispering ‘Raisin, Raisin here boy.’ They were getting quite desperate and started actually calling Raisin, then came and asked me to help look for the friends cat who had escaped outside during the night and was lost. The girl had to catch the ferry to the North Island, and was forced to leave without her cat. She told me he was a very special cat, not like others, with long silky black fur, she asked if I managed to find him would I please look after him. I agreed reluctantly, to do so.
By the end of the day a very hungry black fluff cat was meowing loudly at the door, but when I opened the door he ran very fast back to his hidey-hole under a stack of timber in the next section. The next day hungry overcame his fright and in he came demanding food with a loud voice.
Erle and I were to be married in about one month’s time, we already had bought our new home, but it was sitting empty until we were married. When Erle came around to visit for the evening we talked about how we were going to look after a cat, with a spaniel dog in the house it was not feasible to have Raisin for any length of time, so we decided to move Erle in to the new house from his little flat, he would settle in and take care of Raisin until we were married and settled. Both of us knew we would like to have a cat, and Raisin would do very well. We thought he was about a year old at this time, he was already neutered and a large cat.
Raisin was a quite different type of cat really, he had a huge long fluffy tail that looked like a squirrel or a possum’s tail, and he carried it sort of up over his back like a squirrel. He also had rather long fur around the side of his face, like mutton chops and curling out of his ears too, he was jet black with no white fur at all, rather a special cat. It wasn’t til many years later we were told that he was a Maine Coon cat, which are quite rare, especially in New Zealand at that time. He also had plenty of personality and intelligence, his main claim to fame was his ability to turn on radios, he could turn two quite different ones on, reason for this was that we used a bedside radio as an alarm clock, when the clock came on in the morning, we jumped out of bed and first thing we did once dressed was, feed Raisin, he was certain that we would feed him any time the radio clock turned on – and he was right, mostly.
So that is how we came to be Raisin’s Mum and Dad. He earned his keep catching masses of mice and some rats, since we lived in the country, even a few rabbits, he did also catch some birds but he was a cat and that’s what cats do sometimes. E also assisted us in raising three Burmese kittens; he was good at giving a quick wash and at amusing a wee kitty that just wanted to play all the time. We used to say; we called him Raisin, Raisin, Raisin, such a good cat we named him three times.
Sadly today was his last day with us, he has been a very sick cat for a while now, eating less, loosing weight and vomiting frequently, he also started howling in such a manner that we just knew he was in pain, so we finally did the last kind thing we could do for him, and had his suffering brought to an end.
Goodbye Big Raisin boy cat, we will really miss your companionship, life won’t be the same without you, for us and for Porsche.