Cherie Davies and Clive Bennett

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Home Our Travels 53-87 Our hobbies/sports Cats - Maine Coons

R.I.P. European Premier Atticus Kanati Silvershadow

4 January 2001 - 11 September 2014

New arrival, April  & growing, Sept 2001


with Taro - May 2001

Still with Taro - Sept 2001

and again … where you go I go


                           April 2002

Show time:   March 2003 [above]

October 2004 [below]

alert - as ever : 2006

Sharing a chair with Taro : 2006

and now the bed

Now with Rafiq in the background

No!  You can’t use the PC until I’m ready

May 2011

Just a friendly head butt maybe - but hard

April 2012

What are you doing on the pc today?

2012 and I can sleep anywhere …

Resting on the back of the chair

by the window


                         November 2013

[Left] With a doting       [Right] ‘A pair of

‘Girl’ friend : Rana      mischief makers’

                                  With : Rafiq

      June - 2002                                                    What’s going on? - 2006                                                          Best mates relaxing - Nov. 2011

 That looks interesting - 2012

Clive’s memories of his ‘best mate’ a cat called Kanati:

My ‘mate’ and possibly the most inteligent of all of them : European Premier Atticus Kanati Silvershadow - known more simply as Kan - was a black silver classic tabby Maine Coon born on 4 January 2001  A cat - yes, but a Maine Coon. This is the largest breed of domestic cat and most live happily as indoor cats with humans as companions. Kanati weighed in at around 7.5 kilo while Taro - mentioned below - was a little larger beinmg 44 inches long nose to tail, 16 inches high at the shoulder and weighing 12.5 kilo [almost 2 stone]

Being a North American breed I looked for a suitable native name and found ‘Kanati’ the legendry character from Cherokee Indian mythology said to be the first Man and father of the Nation and where stories about him and his wife Selu preserved their philosophy concerning the proper relationship between man the animals and nature. The name, possibly incorrectly was also said to mean ‘happy hunter’ and probably derived from Kanohalidohi the Cherokee word for hunter.

A small fluffy bundle with alert wide open eyes and a ‘cheeky’ face he ‘arrived’ on 31 March and promptly warned the existing cats, Saree and Taro, that he was now the 'owner' of the lounge by growling at each of them which caused them to ‘move’ to the bedroom for a couple of days. Eventually they both returned although at first Saree was a little bit reserved.  

Taro was more direct and started washing him to establish who was the Alpha male to which Kanati responded by treating him like his big brother and spending as much time as possible sitting or lying alongside him while at the same time developing a degree of attachment to me and what I was doing.

With Saree it was different, he loved ‘chasing’ her - although always in a controlled way that was never quite fast enough to catch her. [Something he did for almost 11 years until she died].  He also enjoyed playing games and had a black furry mouse which he would bring and place in my hand so you could throw it for him to retrieve.

In January 2002 twins Rafiq and Rana were added to the family. While they were young Rafiq, being a boy, naturally became Kan’s playmate and mischief partner. Rana meanwhile soon became his special friend and they would curl up together and wash each other. She also became his greatest admirer and until she died in December 2012 wanted nothing more from life than to be near him - although he was unconcerned and appeared to consider it normal that she would want to lie with him.

It was soon clear that behind Kan’s wide open alert eyes there was a highly inquisitive and intelligent cat who always wanted to see and share in everything that was happening. In addition the older he got the more obvious it became that he was not a typical cat and very different from the others and very sensitive to things happening around him.

When Taro died in 2010 Kanati missed him badly and was seriously traumatised leading to him developing pancreatitis - a condition that was to recur a number of times throughout the rest of his life particularly when one by one of the other cats died. I carefully nursed him back and he ‘adopted’ me as the Alpha male in place of Taro and I became his best friend almost to the point of an obsession with a dog like devotion and an attitude that bordered on possessive with a number of actions that were reserved for me alone.

He always enjoyed a lot of attention and fuss but with me managed to make it feel personal as though he was equally making a fuss of me just for the pleasure of being with me in particular. This became more pronounced once I replaced Taro as his best friend. Wherever I went and whatever I was doing he was usually there or nearby to watch. Preparing meals and particularly breakfast usually meant I had company up on the work surface - just to be there and watch what I was doing. If I picked something up, a book, some papers, an object of some kind or opened a bottle or box of anything he always wanted to know what it was.  I had to ‘show’ it to him and allow him to examine it, sniff it and often head butt it.  Whenever I went anywhere near him there was always an instant purr.

He was never really a ‘lap cat’ but as he grew older he would come to me as I sat in the computer chair where he liked me to rock back to a semi-reclining position so he could get up and curl up in my arms resting on my chest like a little baby with his face very close to mine and occasionally stretching out a front leg and place a paw gently on my beard. Unlike most cats he enjoyed making and holding eye contact and would sit and gaze into my eyes with an almost humanlike look of affection - but just me, never with anyone else.

He also liked to wake me in the morning - not too early - at about 7.30 he would jump on the bed and purr to me with his nose just in front of mine. Then, if I didn’t respond he would reach out and put his paw on my beard and stroke it - no claws just the soft pad - until I woke up. If that failed, he would head butt me hard until I did react.  Alternatively if I was already awake he would come and sit on my chest with his nose a few inches from my face and sit there quietly gazing straight at me and purring until I was ready to get up – another thing he did only with me.

While I was out he would sleep on the back of the armchair by the lounge window. But he knew the sound of my car and as soon as I came home he sat up, watched me put the car away and then ‘talked’ to me as I walked up the path and then, as I approached the front door, he would move round to the side window to look down and watch me come in – still ‘talking’ to me. He was always there, no matter when I came home the first thing I saw was him standing, watching and waiting for me and he alwayd waited to see me come through the front door before he got down. Even if someone else was coming in first he wouldn’t leave the window till he was certain I was coming in. His pleasure at seeing me come home was unmistakable.  By the time I came in he was at the door to meet me then off to do a wee - he never did anything while no humans were around to ‘clean up’ - it was always ‘saved’ for when I got home. Afterwards he always came to me and ‘told me’ he’d done something and I needed to go and clear it up – and again only me. Like all Maine Coones he didn’t meow, instead he had a vocabulary of sounds with different meanings to let me know what he wanted.

Once I was home when he wanted me to accompany him he would come and ‘talk’ to me then turn round with his rear towards me and stand with his tail upright, almost rigid but with a slight quivering in a typical friendship gesture normally reserved for other cats - a gesture he reserved only for me and never offered to other ‘humans’.  Alternatively he would sometimes reach up and put a paw on my thigh to let me know he was waiting for me to go with him - usually to the bedroom or possibly his seat on the linen basket in the bathroom. I would stand up and say ‘show me’ and off he went at the trot - it was always at a trot, pausing by the door to look round and make sure I was following.

As soon as we got where he was heading he wanted ‘cuddles’ accompanied as usual by lots and lots of purring lasting for 30 minutes or more.  When we went in to the bedroom and particularly when I came home from being out it was almost a human form of cuddles. He sat on the bed, he didn’t lie down but just sat, and I would sit beside him. Then I placed my arm round him and he would lean over against me with his head tucked under my arm. Again something he did only with me.  Next it was a nudge with the head and I had to lean down so my nose or chin rested on top of his head then he would push back hard and hold the top of his head firmly against me and purr. He also liked to stand or rub against me and if I wasn’t close enough he would make a small leap with an arched back rather like a lamb to encourage me to move closer.

Alternatively he occasionally liked me to just lie on the bed with him. He would stretch out with his front paws over the edge and his head resting on them while I would lie beside him on my stomach with arms in front and my head resting on them - mirrowing his position. There we would lie for anything up to 30 minutes with him looking at me and purring. Yet another thing he reserved for being with me.

He hated me using the computer - almost a jealousy that I was looking at that instead of him.  [But again only me, anyone else using one didn’t bother him] Even if he was asleep or happened to be in another room he knew when I switched on and would come trotting in to jump up and sit in front of the screen where I had no option but to stop and make a fuss of him.

When I went for a shower he would come and sit of the linen basket so he could ‘talk’ to me if I put my head round the shower curtain close to where he was sitting. If I laid my clothes out on the bed to dress before going out or after having a shower I would often come back to find him sitting on them. If I left personal possessions or papers lying around he would curl up on them. When I went to the loo he would follow me in and jump up on to the window sill to be close to my head and sit there and purr. When I was out he would go into the bathroom where he would reach up and stretch his claws against my towel [just mine not those used by anybody else] and pull them down onto the floor. If I was relaxing in the arm chair he would climb up and curl up on the back just above my head just to be near me and purred. Alternatively he would some times sit on the arm where he could lean against me and as always purr.

Like all Maine Coons he was a big cat and loved his food but unlike many others never put on any fat remaining slim, lean, active and agile for all his life. There were always food bowls on the floor in the kitchen and bedroom for all the cats to eat from but because of his love of being up high there was always a separate bowl for him on the work top next to the cooker where he particularly enjoyed being hand fed as a treat. Unlike many cats there was no ‘cupboard love’ and he never ‘asked’ for food.

Nonetheless at meal times he liked to know what I was eating. He expected to be ‘shown’ the plate so he could see and smell what I was going to eat but he was very good and didn’t scrounge tit bits of food. If however I had either salami sausage or Chinese noodles, both of which he particularly liked, he enjoyed sharing a few pieces with me. If I came home with them in a bag or take-away box he knew instantly and long before they could be unpacked he would be sitting on the coffee table next to my chair waiting for me to go in and sit down. He also, occasionally, like a little bit of cheese.

Another very distinctive feature was his movement. While the other cats walked as most do half crouching progressing slowly and stealthily, almost gliding around Kanati was completely different. He never really ‘walked’ anywhere. His gait was un-cat like and highly unusual, he always stood tall with legs almost straight and moved at a trot with high stepping front feet like a thoroughbred pony looking rather as though he was bouncing along on a hot surface. He could also run very fast when he wanted to - much faster than the other cats - usually when he was coming to join me and often arriving in the kitchen at break neck speed ending with a flying leap via a stool on to the work surface alongside the sink with his momentum carrying him on through to the window sill.

The other cats, as they grew older, were happy to be petted or relax and sit quietly on their own often on the floor or possibly an arm chair but Kanati had other ideas. He was agile and active and preferred to be off the floor and if possible up as close to me as he could get. On work surfaces, on top of the linen basket in the bathroom - his favourite ‘comfort’ place  [which had a soft cover on it for him to sit on], the top of the cooker [also with a soft cover for him to sit on], the coffee table, backs of arm chairs and window sills. Kan particularly liked windows sills where he could look out at the world always alert, watching and learning. He also loved the warmth of the summer sun and would follow it round from the bedroom window in the morning to the lounge windows in the afternoon and evening.

The window cleaner arrival always interested him. While the other cats would disappear to hide at the sight of a stranger he would sit by the window to watch sometimes following from window to window. Domestic cleaning was another thing he understood. The others didn’t like the sound of a Hoover and fled to another room at just the sight of it but not Kanati, he sat on the back of the chair and watched with apparent interest almost supervising what was being done.

As he grew older his idea of a game was knocking pens - any pen - on to the floor or grabbing and biting the end of a feather or fluffy toy on a stick – not the toy. I had to reverse it and hold the toy so he could catch and bite the end of the handle. Wire coat hangers were another favorite he loved to grab hold and ‘chew’. He also enjoyed playing ‘catch’ with fingers under any kind of cushion or cover  If anything was delivered in a large cardboard box, once empty the box was his to sit or sleep in and if necessary defend from the other cats. My ‘pet’ corn snake was another attraction and would sit patiently and watch it’s every movement as it slid round the vivarium

Throughout his life he was fascinated by water - even more than most Maine Coons who are notorious for it.  He had water bowls on the floor in the bedroom and kitchen, a water fountain in the lounge but mostly he used a glass in the vegetable bowl of the kitchen sink. He would stand and paw at it till it rocked - occasionally tipping it over and coming to find me so it could be refilled. Just the sound of running water from a tap was enough to bring him racing into the kitchen and a leap up to the sink. But washing up after a meal was his speciality, he would rush into the kitchen and leap up alongside the sink leaning forward turning back and forward between the small and large sinks watching the soapy water drain away or bubble back up on the opposite side. On the odd occasions when he hadn’t realised what I was doing I’d call out ‘Kan - soap’ and he would appear as usual like an express train.

For his early years he, like the other cats, always used the litter box - but with a difference. While the others went in completely and then scratched litter over whatever they did Kan went in, turned round, then stood half out with his front legs on the lip of the entrance with his head outside and held high with an intense look of concentration, Then when he’d finished he always came to me to ‘tell me’ that it needed cleaning and having told me would wait briefly to ensure I was getting up and would then ‘trot’ off to one of his resting places.  He never bothered to cover up anything - he understood it was unnecessary as I always cleaned the box for him.

By mid life he had worked out for himself how I used the loo and where water went so instead of doing his wee in the litter box he started using the kitchen sink. Climbing in, straddling the plug-hole and doing a wee straight down the hole - afterwards, as usual, he always came to’ tell me’ what he’d done so I could run some water and flush any remnants away. A bottle of disinfectant was kept next to the sink just for that.  Unlike times when he wanted me to follow him somewhere for a fuss, if it was the litter box or sink to be cleaned he just trotted off without a pause or a look round to ensure I was following. His attitude was a very cheeky ‘You’ve been told now it’s up to you.’

Kanati’s coat was very fine, soft and almost silky to touch …. but, nobody’s perfect and there was a catch. This was his Achilles heel. He loved grooming his fur, day after day. Not only that he also ate or ‘hoovered’ up any hair of fur on the floor, chairs or cushions.  The result … hair balls, lots of them, almost daily and sometimes twice a day for virtually his whole life and when I was out they were ‘deposited’ wherever he happened to be at the time and that’s where I would find them on my return.  When I was at home however he always ‘announced’ that he was about to bring one up with a loud,  long and mournful howl some 30 to 40 seconds beforehand. When I heard the howl I’d call out ‘come on’ and he’d jump down from wherever he happened to be and run off to the bathroom or doorway to the bedroom. I used to quickly follow and pick him up and place him in the bath with my hand gently on the back of his neck to keep him there and steady until he’d discharged the hair ball. After that he jumped out and ran away to where he’d come from leaving me to clear up.

While young he had an outstanding show career which started in August 2001 at Worthing. There he gained both an 'Excellent One' and a Nomination for best in show. His next show, still as a junior, gained another Excellent 1 and Nomination then on to an adult career where in 25 consecutive shows he was never beaten.  This started with three Certificates leading to the title of 'Premier' at Stevenage in January 2002 Then five shows, each time winning an International Certificates which secured the title of 'International Premier' at Worthing in August 2002 After that seven Grand International Certificates to become a 'Grand International Premier' at Staines in May 2003. Finally in August 2005 at Worthing after another ten shows, each time winning a European Certificate he reached the pinnacle and became a 'European Premier'. A day later, again at Worthing, he gained a Prize of Honour’ and Nomination. At Salisbury in 2004 - he also won a cup for Best Neuter in Show.

In February 2014 he developed conjunctivitis in the right eye which developed into an ulcer and took several weeks to heal. In May he developed a swelling in the left eye and after test was found to have small growth behind the eye. The inflammation turned into an ulcer and by June he was going blind in that eye. It continued to deteriorate and on 3 September had to be removed. During the op they found he had a serious throat infection and also the start of another ulcer in the right eye.  There was a hint of recovery from the op and then a serious deterioration in both the throat infection, which made it virtually impossible for him to swallow and the ulceration of the other eye in which he was also going blind. So on 11 September at the relatively early age of 13 years and 8 months I, with much sorrow and great reluctance, had to say goodbye not to a pet but to a very, very special best friend and companion.

Over the years I’ve had many pets both cats, dogs and others but never one that ‘bonded’ into such an intense and personal connection. He was a totally irreplaceable and truly unique cat unlike any of the others in so many ways.

Kanati’s Show Awards 2001 - 05

Maine Coon Cats … 'The gentle giants'