A Tale of Two Cats...and a Dog
"I have always been a dog person, so our dog Lucy, she is my heart on four legs. And Tommy is the love of my husband’s life! But, Mortimer, he is the sweetest cat I have ever met!" - gushed Angela when we asked her about her three wonderfully distinct, but equally loving fur companions.
Angela is a devoted animal lover and a volunteer at the local pet shelters. Her husband Evin and she decided to join Basepaws to fetch some interesting molecular facts about their two cats. Because Tommy and Mortimer have both been diagnosed with certain health complications, the couple was hoping to contribute to our mission to expand and sharpen the understanding of feline health and genetics with their peculiar samples.
"We had already done a DNA testing for our dog Lucy before, and we found it to be very interesting. When my friend Amber brought to our attention that there was a cat genetics company looking for cats with specific traits, we decided to try it! We only received Mortimer's results so far and are still waiting for Tommy’s. It was very cool reading about Mortimer, and we are super excited to receive Tommy’s report too!"- Angela.
Tommy, the grey and white 10-year old from the photo above, and Mortimer, a 3-year old orange tabby, both have endearing background stories. Tommy was adopted as an adult cat from a shelter where he was brought by an old lady for whom "he was too much to handle". Angela explained to us that she could definitely imagine Tommy being too much for an older person as "he actually bit my face on the day we went out to meet him! It wasn’t too strong or anything, but he did bite my nose." At the time of the adoption, the couple was looking for a kitten, but ended up instantly falling in love with Tommy instead. "When we went to the shelter and saw Tommy through the little glass window in the cage, we knew it. We just knew that was it. Since they weren’t opening for another two hours, we decided to wait and take him home that same day. Another couple came soon who turned out to be there for Tom too. And my husband, who is never ever ever confrontational, goes – we were here first!" - laughed Angela. In return, Tommy has been the most loving companion a human could ever wish for. Or at least, Evin could ever wish for. "Tommy loves my husband Evin. He is his favorite thing in the world. And with me he has somewhat of a tremulous relationship. Sometimes he loves me, sometimes he hates me. He’s just that kind of animal that when he does give you some kind of affection, it is that much more special." And charmingly special he truly is. Tommy has something about himself that simply draws people to him. No matter what he does, no matter where, everybody loves him.
Tommy in a shelter on the day when he met his new fur parents
In 2012, the couple had adopted a second cat named Sir. Unfortunately, Sir had kidney disease and he passed away in 2015. Often referred to as ‘boyfriends’, Tommy and Sir were very close friends who could never get enough of each other. Always together, they played, snuggled and slept inseparably. After Sir passed away, Tommy was so sad and depressed that the couple decided to get a new cat to keep him company. "The shelter I volunteered at back then, informed me about a fluffy orange baby. Since I always wanted a long-haired orange cat, I was happy to bring Mortimer home. He isn’t actually orange, but ever since he walked into our lives, he definitely snuck his way into our hearts too." Mortimer was an orphaned kitten found on the street, and he was only three weeks old when Angela and Evin took him in. He turned out to have a wonderful, sweet and playful nature. He’s the kind of cat who loves nothing more than to be touched and played with.
While Tommy and Mortimer tend a typical brotherly hate-love relationship, they both adore their dog Lucy. While Mortimer will gladly engage for an occasional puppy cuddle too, Tommy will follow the dog everywhere around the house. She may be his second favorite thing in the world, right after his hooman Evin. "I think Tommy idolizes Lucy a little bit." - laughed Angela - "He forces his way into cuddling with her and gets along with her wonderfully. Mortimer loves her too and will cuddle up against her, but he is just not as affectionate with her as Tommy.".
If not with Evin or Lucy, Tommy is likely to be found purring hours away somewhere warm and cozy – like the carrier used for the vet visits or any of Angela’s stuff. "Right now he is sleeping on my shoes. He will also gladly curl up in my purse or the laundry basket if there my stuff is in there. Which is interesting because Evin is his favorite human, but he will always rest on my stuff, on my blanket and my clothes – never his.". Although a very dignified cat, you may occasionally spot him chase – well, his tail. It seems to always follow him around!
Tommy and Lucy
His feline brother Mortimer is the goofy sibling in the family. He loves climbing, running and playing. If not asleep on the top of the cat tree or the bookshelf, he is chasing any of his toys, which he loves all so dearly. "Mortimer is such a goofy little animal. Once, we had foster kittens and he actually thought he was one of them. They are like playing, and then this big orange cloud comes into the frame thinking to be one of them." - reminisced Angela through laughter. Who wouldn’t fall in love with a silly bundle of joy like little Mortimer?!
While the couple is still waiting for Tommy’s Basepaws report, Mortimer turned out to share most of his DNA with Maine Coons, Peterbalds and Tonkineses. What took Angela by surprise is that the Persian breed was actually very low on his breed composition list: "His typical Persian fur and a slightly flat face definitely had be believe he would return as a part Persian. But what was cool seeing is how these different breeds pulled in to make him look the way he does. Coat wise he resembles the Maine Coon, but shape wise he is spot-on Tonkinese. He has very big ears and wide eyes, always looking super surprised."
Like many Basepaws clients, the couple was very excited about the Wildcat index. "We got the biggest kick of the wildcat ancestry part! Mortimer is in the 100 percentile for the Flat-headed cat! Personality-wise, of all the listed domestic and wild cats, Mortimer definitely resembles this cat the best! He is also very small in size, not very bright and has kind of a smushed face."
Both cats were diagnosed with several health complications. Tommy suffers from feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), a condition affecting the bladder and urethra. The diseases led Tommy to black out a couple of times, so he had to be surgically assisted in order to prevent further incidents of that kind. He was also diagnosed with severe arthritis and spondylosis. Mortimor has had gallstone pancreatitis and has recently been diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). He will undergo further screening tests in November which will reveal if the disease is progressing and which should give a firmer diagnosis. "Fortunately, we did ensure our pets, so we were able to provide both of them with good care and make them as comfortable as we could." - explained Angela - "Since we do have cats with health issues, we would love it if these genetic tests would, ideally, reveal possible complications ahead of time so we could assert some kind of preventative treatments. For example, if we had known that Mortimer was prone to HCM or Tommy was predisposed to FLUTD, we would have been able to bring this to the vet’s attenty and possibly even taken certain measures to try and protect them for as long as we can."
Tommy and Mortimer
Tommy and Mortimer, together with their canine sister Lucy, are a joyful bundle of purrs, barks, cuddles and kisses. While they are all so purrfectly distinct and unique, they do share one thing in common – they are all deeply and sincerely loved by their hoomans. Dear Angela and Evin, thank you for joining your forces with Basepaws and trusting us with your fur companions!