It has been two months now since I brought home Isis, the 6-1/2 year old cat who came to be companion to my 13-year old cat Muffin and me after the kitten died. She and Muffin are adapting to each other quite well and becoming friends. The two months have not lacked adventure, although the adventure has been pleasant so far.
As far as I can determine, she has had at least 3 previous owners. Her most recent owner before me died unexpectedly. The veterinary records show her to be a "Russian Blue." However, she is too long haired to be a pure bred Russian Blue, and her eyes are not the right color. Some shelters call every grey cat they get a "Russian Blue" or "Nebelung." Nebelungs are a rare breed, but they do have longer fur and fluffier tails than Russian Blues. I went as far as to contact one Nebelung breeder on the west coast to see if she had ever sold a kitten to someone in southern California, and then concluded that my cat was a "Nebelung wannabe". The important thing was that she was a sweet cat who got along well with my other cat and had no health or behavioral problems.
I soon realized that she needed to be combed more often than a Maine Coon, although her fur felt a little bit like Maine Coon fur. I was combing her 2 times a week when, about 3 weeks ago, she started spitting up a hairball a day. Then I started combing her every day and bought a Furminator. After a couple of weeks, I thought perhaps I should look at descriptions of other breeds to get a better idea of how to take care of her fur. I now think she looks like a Norwegian Forest Cat. Norwegian Forest Cats sometimes moult in the fall when they lose their summer coat, as well as in the spring when they lose their winter coat. That might explain the hairballs. She now has a little bit of a Norwegian Forest Cat type ruff. For comparison, there are a few photos of blue Norwegian Forest Cats online here, here, and here.
The veterinary records for the last owner say "Russian Blue." The veterinarian knew the previous owner before her, who is believed to have adopted her at a shelter when she was about 2 years old (4-1/2 years ago). I located the veterinary shop that bought her microchip, actually about 8 years ago, but they have no records under her name or microchip number. They might have microchipped her for a shelter as recently as 6 years ago, since microchips last a long time. They say they microchip for several shelters and wouldn't know which one it was. If they microchipped her for an individual owner, they might have just not entered the microchip number in their computer system, and must have had her listed under a different name from "Isis". The microchip company does not keep records of past owners' names, so the trail is lost about 4-1/2 years ago, when she was at least 2 years old.
Could she be a Norwegian Forest Cat or a "wegie" mix? Or is she just a "wegie wannabe"? I may never know. That is not a common breed here. It is one of the most common breeds in Sweden, and San Diego County had a substantial Swedish population 4-1/2 years ago, when Ericsson Telecommunications was closing its San Diego facility. So I suppose it is possible that someone left her at a shelter when they had to leave the country. But more likely, she was a mixed breed long hair shelter kitten who happens to look a bit like a wegie.
Anyway, since the photo I posted when I first got her didn't show off her coat, which may be getting longer for the winter, here are a few new photos. If anybody recognizes her from 5 years ago and knows her background, please e-mail me. I would like to know.