Happy 10th Birthday to my Zerzees!
10. How is it so? I do not know.
Charlie, as many of you know, has many endless nicknames (as do all my cats) - the latest top picks seem to be "Zerzees" or "Woo". I do call him "Charlie" a lot - which is unlike other cats I have felt soul connections with. I rarely end up calling them by their given name. But Charlie's name, I knew before I knew Charlie. I picked it out years ago, knowing one day I would name my cat that. In fact, I have my next cat name picked out too. I don't know why. It just comes to me. Anyway, Zerzees or Zerz is the most frequently used at the moment, followed by Woo. There's also Charliemansers, Charlemagne (when I am feeling French), Bub, Woo-ee, etc.
I was recently at my parents' lake house with my mom, dad, sister and brother-in-law and I remember telling my dad when Charlie hopped up next to me on the couch, "Charlie is the first cat I've had that openly shows how much he loves me like a dog would." It's true. Charlie's dedication to me reminds me of all of our German Shepherds growing up and their devotion to my mom. While I truly detest breed stereotypes, Charlie does fit the Ragdoll cat description in being a puppy cat.
My family has a theory on blaze cats - that they are outgoing and Charlie fits the bill. He is always around, always wants to be where the action is. He is a curious cat, and also a very proud cat.
I have learned a lot from Charlie. Many years ago, a vet from Scandinavia was watching one of our video and told me that Charlie had a crepe coat. She mentioned that Charlie’s coat was a result of flat hair follicles and Trigg’s was from having round hair follicles. She talked about how his coat was perfect for weather in Scandinavia because it takes forever to get wet - isn't that the truth! When Charlie and Trigg were 1-2 years old and got diarrhea more often, I would end up having the bath them and it took gallons of water to get Charlie wet - and not so with Trigg. But the biggest "Ah-ha" I got from the flat hair follicle education was that Charlie wasn't neurotic. Rather, he can feel and sense things way more than Trigg (or any other cat I have had) can. So when the wind blows, he feels it more sensitively than the rest of us. For a long time, I just thought he was somewhat of a freak - but the flat hair follicle information helped me understand his behavior better in different situations.
Speaking of his coat, he's the first cat I've had and been around that gets a visibly larger winter coat. I mean, like night and day. I tried to find comparable recent comparison photos, but the above was the best I could do. The photo above on the left shows his winter coat in full bloom, whereas the one on the right shows his summer coat - always thinner and it looks like he has lost weight, but he hasn't. His coat matches his eating habit too - Chiggy eats about the same all-year around. However, Charlie is very sensitive to heat and humidity and will eat less when it's very hot and very humid. I have to really watch him in the summer because of this. He reminds me of a true wild animal that packs on the pounds in the winter and then sheds them in the summer.
When his winter coat is in full bloom, he gets these little ear sprouts - they appear between the ears on either side of the top of his head - not talking about the hairs inside the ears, but rather on the outside of the ears on the top of the head. I love them - they make me squeal.
I rely heavily on my intuition. In fact, I often don't have an explanation for decisions I make or things I go after - it's just a "I know because I know" type of thing. That was the case with Charlie. When I saw the photo above on his breeder's website in August of 2009, I knew he was mine - knew in my gut. Almost felt bad about it because my Rags had only been dead 4 months. I had always wanted a seal mitted with a blaze because the very first Ragdoll I ever loved was seal mitted with a blaze - his name was Halston and he is pictured below. I was 6, and I adored him.
Being a blaze cat, Charlie's outgoing-ness and willingness to make eye contact with me makes him an awesome model and product tester. He helps me tremendously with Floppycats and believe he understands the importance of his role.
Charlie makes everyone smile. Just his presence or his photo will make someone smile. He really has that effect on my Dad - which is unusual. My Dad isn't a cat guy in general - he succumbed because he had a daughter who was obsessed. I will sometimes randomly text photos of Charlie to my Dad (who is not on social media) and say, "Charlie wanted to know if he made you smile." My Dad always says it works. You better believe my Dad will be getting a Charlie photo text on today =).
Charlie is a superior hunter. Although not the athlete that Trigg is, he catches many rodents and other small mammals outside - when we go outside - which Charlie MUST do or he will get severe cabin fever. He loves to go outside - but unlike Chiggy, who enjoys the view, Charlie prefers to walk the perimeter and make sure no one has messed with his yard. He is very territorial and protects his lair.
I do not know how much longer I have with Charlie, but I would be thrilled for another 10 years. I tell him he has to live until he is 30. I really cannot imagine Floppycats without him. It awfully hard to get Chiggy to pose with a product - Charlie makes it easy...and I realize how true that is when I try to use my parents' Ragdoll cats, Caymus and Murphy, to be models with a product too.
Happy 10th Birthday, Charlie and many, many, many more!