Part 1: One, Two, One, Three
Our first cat was Tiger, whose own 'story' can be found in the 'Previous Cats' section. He was the cat who taught us that cats can make fantastic companions and by the time we found out that there was a chance he had cancer, I couldn't image being without a cat. At that time, Jinny had come into Animal Care in Lancaster, where I was volunteering, and we adopted her 'just in case' the worst happened to Tiger. Unfortunately, Jinny had been abused before she came to us and although she is now a lovely cat, it took years before she made a good 'pet'. When Tiger had to be put down, there was therefore still a huge gap that Jinny was too terrified and flighty to come close to filling so we decided to look for a kitten to fill the gap.
I wanted a cat with a personality similar to Tiger's so I researched the personalities of the different pedigree breeds. Maine Coons sounded most similar in temperament to Tiger (although we now know that Asians are actually more similar), so I started looking for a Maine Coon kitten. After a false start, we were put in touch with Helen and Brenda (Elmcoon Maine Coons), in South Yorkshire. They had two litters of 8/9-week-old kittens, one of which was a red tabby boy that I was interested in because Tiger had been a ginger tabby. These things never go according to plan, however, and one of the brown tabbies kept chewing my fingers in a most adorable way. I fell in love and 'booked' Call that day, although I couldn't pick him up until a few weeks later, when he was 13 weeks old.
At that point I was still volunteering at Animal Care, and whilst waiting to collect Call I fell in love with one of the kittens there. He was a feisty wee monkey; one of three kittens born to a feral mum and a few weeks younger than Call. One of the kitten's brothers was a red tabby, which I would have loved, but once again I was in love with one that wasn't red. Initially Richard said no, but after meeting 'Ali' he changed his mind. Since Ali was a moggie, we were allowed to take him home at 8 weeks old, so he actually arrived with us a week before Call did and they grew up thinking they were brothers, in spite of the size difference.